Argentina captain Lionel Messi has said he is “happier than ever” to win an elusive international trophy after helping Argentina beat Colombia to win the Copa America final. Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved three spot kicks in the shoot-out, Xinhua said, adding that the clash with Argentina hosts Brazil was decided on July 10 at the Maracana Stadium.
“It’s a tough game, but we deserve it,” Messi said in an interview with Argentine television after the match. “Sometimes it’s hard because of the way they defend. But for us (Emiliano Martinez) it’s an event. We know he’s going to make those savings. We know what he’s capable of, and we trusted him.”
Messi set up Argentina’s only goal in the 90 minutes allotted 90 minutes before the first penalty of the shootout.. The 34-year-old is in unstoppable form in Brazil, scoring four goals and five assists in matches so far.
“It is easier to play against European teams many times than this type of game because there are more seats,” he said. “We tried our best and luckily we were able to win.”
The last big headline was in 1993
Argentina’s last major match victory came in the 1993 Copa America in Ecuador, where Gabriel Batistuda defeated Mexico 2-1 in the final. Argentina have been frustrated to end the drought during Messi’s time on the national team, finishing second in the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Copa America.
“We are very excited and happy,” he said. “Even though we won and could not see our families, I have really enjoyed these last 45 days with the team. It’s a great sacrifice for everyone to try to reach our goal. Now we are almost.”
He did not hide his interest in facing his former Barcelona teammate and close friend Neymar in the final. “We were friends and he wanted me to be there too. I hope it will be a very equal and tough match. We achieved our first goal, which was to reach the final, and now we are happier than ever before in looking for a trophy,” he added.
Here are some records that Messi may or may not have broken in the upcoming Copa America final …
Most appearances for Argentina
In the ongoing match, Messi defeated his former FC Barcelona and Argentine player Javier Maserano in high appearances for La Albiceleste (147).
Argentina became the first country to participate in six Copa America events
By participating in the Copa America 2021, Messi became the first Argentine international to play in six editions of the tournament (2007-2021). The Barcelona captain broke Maserano’s record of playing in five Copa America.
Most people help in the same match
With five assists in six of the ongoing matches, Messi set a new record for the most number of assists in one edition of Copa America.
By appearing in the final, Messi will touch the record of 34 appearances played by Sergio Livingston of Chile.
Most destinations in Copa America
With four goals in six matches, Messi has scored 13 goals in six editions of the tournament. He is four goals short of 17 goals from Cicinho (Brazil) and Norberto Mendes (Argentina) – more than any player in the tournament.