Published: 12th July 2021
What the FAQ: What does the Copa America win mean for Argentina and Lionel Messi?
The South American football tournament is the first major international tournament that Argentina has won in the last 28 years
The world erupted with joy when Argentina defeated Brazil in the early hours of Sunday (India time) to take home the Copa America trophy. The South American football tournament is the first major international tournament that Argentina has won in the last 28 years. It also adds a feather to the cap of Argentine captain and legendary forward Lionel Messi. Here's all you need to know about this historic win and why it matters so much to the South American nation and its football superstar.
What is Copa America?
The oldest and still-running football competition in the world is the third-most watched football tournament in the world. The tournament is meant for men and has been held 47 times since 1916, over a hundred years ago. It was earlier known as South American Football Championship before it was renamed Copa America in 1975.
Who all take part in the tournament?
Initially meant to determine the best football team in South America, the competition was opened for North American and Asian countries post-1990s. In its current format, there are 12 teams that participate in the tournament. Ten of those are from South America, while the two remaining teams can be from North America or Asia. Countries like Mexico, United States, Japan and Qatar have taken part in the tournament. The United States has also hosted the tournament on its turf three times.
What happened at this Copa America finals?
Argentina played their arch-rivals Brazil at the Copa America finals and won (1-0) after Angel Di Maria scored a goal in the first half. This is not the first time that Argentina and Brazil are facing each other at the Copa America finale. They faced each other in 2007 when Brazil defeated Argentina (3-0).
Why is the win so significant for Argentina?
The Copa America win ends Argentina's 28-year-old drought of trophies at major important tournaments. Argentina has gone very close to taking out tournaments, the most significant being the FIFA World Cup in 2014 when they lost to Germany at the finals. Ironically, they lost at the same stadium — Maracanã Stadium in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro — where they won on Sunday (India time). It has now tied with Uruguay as the country to win the tournament the most number of times (15).
What does it mean for Lionel Messi?
Arguably one of the best football players in the world, Messi has led his professional football club Barcelona to several victories, including UEFA Champion's League wins. However, the captain of Argentina could never notch up a victory for his country, except for a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Besides giving Argentina the much-needed win, Messi was also declared the best player and the highest goal scorer at the tournament.