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Argentina finds a second savior in Martinez, but can they beat Brazil?

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Argentina finds a second savior in Martinez, but can they beat Brazil?

It’s funny to think that if Bernd Leno hadn’t been injured against Brighton in July 2020, Argentina wouldn’t be in the America’s Cup final. Emi Martínez would never have had the opportunity to show his quality for Arsenal. He would not have earned a move to Aston Villa (an improvement on his and in the opinion of the informed observer). He would not have entered the Argentine squad and definitely would not have been in goal to save three penalties in the semifinal against Colombia.

Lionel Messi has finally found a Robin capable of his Batman. Gonzalo Higuain. Angel di Maria, Sergio Agüero, even Javier Mascherano tried and failed. At the end of the day, there was only one match winner for the Albiceleste. Until today.

M&M

It was an unusual tactic used by the Argentine number one. One straight out of a movie script – trash works its way into the opponent’s head and causes him to make a mistake. “Stop walking like this, I know where your shot is going. Look and see how I’m going to eat you ”is what Martínez supposedly told Yerry Mina before the Colombian’s penalty.

However, to credit your saves only to the deficiencies of Mina, Davinson Sánchez and Edwin Cardona is doing a disservice. The stops were exceptional in their own right, the sh * milia added to the show.

And Messi was exceptional as always. He created an opportunity out of nowhere for Lautaro Martínez early on, but it was difficult to finish. Messi repeated the trick shortly after laying it down for Lautaro after being played by Giovani Lo Celso. He was crushed multiple times, but when you’ve been Lionel Messi for so long, you get used to rough treatment.

He did his two cents early in the penalty shootout, breaking his penalty in the upper left corner of the goal before Martinez took over. But will this combination of Messi and Martínez be enough for Argentina in the final?

THE BRAZILIAN CARAVAN HAPPENS

If Messi and Martínez are superheroes in the mold of Batman and Robin, Brazil has its own cast of Avengers in the 2021 Cup. And for once, their strength is in the back. Ederson is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Marquinhos one of the best center-backs in the world. Thiago Silva has enjoyed a resurgence at Chelsea and Danilo and Renan Lodi are very solid defensively.

If we add to that the coverage offered by Casemiro, Fred and Fabinho in the midfield, overcoming the Brazilian block becomes a very difficult prospect. In a way, Brazil has everything that Argentina does not have: good defense, stability and consistency in the national team, and a coach who has a clear idea of ​​what he is doing.

Brazil also has everything Argentina has: a Messi-style talisman forward in Neymar, a dynamic but creative midfielder like Rodrigo de Paul in Lucas Paqueta, and promising, albeit failing, forwards in Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesús to compete with Lautaro Martínez.

The Selecao team was way ahead in terms of quality and their tournament has just shown it. His impressive smooth start with seven goals in his first two games has been contrasted with steely 1-0 victories against Chile and Peru in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, the first with 10 men after Jesús’ red card.

CAN ARGENTINA BEAT BRAZIL?

One would have assumed, prior to today’s events, that Argentina needs divine intervention through its number 10 to beat Brazil. His defense is shaky at best and catastrophic on average. His midfield keeps changing and anyone’s guess is as good as coach Lionel Scaloni on who will start the final. His line of attack is wasteful, to put it politely.

Martinez’s heroic deeds give new hope to Albiceleste supporters in the latest chapter of their long-standing rivalry against Brazil. Maybe, just maybe, Argentina can keep the fort at the back and wait for some magic to give them a break. And they really deserve a break.

One goal in extra time in the 2014 World Cup final, two penalty shootouts to Chile in consecutive Copa América finals, and highly questionable refereeing on their departure to Brazil in 2019. Even in their semi-final win against Colombia They should have had a penalty when Nicolás Otamendi was held in the 18-yard box. Luck has not been wrong on the side of Messi and company. for a decade.

It’s strange to think of Argentina as the homeless given its rich history, but that’s exactly what it is: history. He has not won a Cup or a World Cup since 1993. His team is the lowest even with the best in the world on his side. Maybe that’s what they need. For a team that has always had to grapple with the burden of meeting expectations, being underdog can be liberating.

Of course, the pressure will still be there, after all, they are playing against their archrivals in the final of a big tournament. The romantic in every soccer fan hopes Messi will win an international trophy and this is perhaps his last chance. But even Argentina’s own fans don’t expect him to win this time. They just wait.

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