03 Jul Age is only a quantity! Dani Alves rolls again the years to take down Lionel Messi and Argentina
The PSG full-back continues to defy his 36 years as he led the Selecao into the ultimate of the Copa America on Tuesday
Lionel Messi had his moments, however in the end the battle of two Barcelona idols completed with one clear winner.
Dani Alves and Messi led their teams out in Brazil’s 2-Zero Copa America victory over Argentina, with the previous arising with a chic efficiency to guide his team from the again and put the Selecao simply 90 minutes from glory on house soil.
Let not the comparatively equal historic standings of South America’s two largest nations idiot you. Brazil and Argentina went into Tuesday’s Superclasico in vastly diverging states.
Tite’s males have been drilled and moulded by their coach during the last three years right into a formidable unit, tasting defeat in aggressive matches simply twice for the reason that former Corinthians man took over from Dunga within the wake of the 2016 Copa Centenario debacle.
The brand new names on the team-sheet, resembling Everton and Arthur, have slotted effortlessly right into a team that is aware of what they’re doing on the sphere and act accordingly. Argentina against this are very a lot a piece in progress.
That gulf in preparation and high quality confirmed early on. Brazil harried incessantly from the very begin, a swarm of livid, genetically enhanced yellow and blue bees to offer the Albiceleste a torrid opening in Belo Horizonte. Starved of time on the ball, Lionel Scaloni’s costs however confirmed a dogged perspective to maintain Everton, Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus away from hazard.
With Everton inserted firmly and safely within the pocket of the towering Juan Foyth, a revelation at right-back, it was down the opposite flank that Brazil made the breakthrough. For sure, maybe, Alves, impossibly recent and motivated even at 36 and coming off a harrowing run of accidents, was the inspiration.
Gaining possession off Lautaro Martinez in the midst of the pitch the PSG star reduce a swathe via the Argentina backline, which paid the worth for a second of absent-mindedness. Firmino was mendacity in wait on the suitable and rolled the ball into the realm, the place Jesus was ready with glee to interrupt a 600-minute aggressive objective drought and open the scoring.
That might have been the cue for Argentina to fold. However to the underdogs’ credit score they stored up the strain on their hosts, who did not capitalise on the objective benefit, and if not for some rotten luck and the woodwork may effectively have fought again into the sport.
Aguero noticed a header rebound off the crossbar to security, earlier than Messi – much-improved from the fairly disappointing determine seen within the early rounds – rattled Alisson’s left-hand publish with a savage shot. The Selecao appeared to be content material with the slimmest of successful margins, prepared and ready to take benefit ought to the chance come up.
Positive sufficient, such an opportunity fell into their laps 20 minutes from time. With your complete Argentina team protesting over a supposed foul on Aguero, on the different finish Jesus was rushing in direction of objective with virtually zero resistance. After turning Manchester Metropolis team-mate Nicolas Otamendi in knots he squared selflessly to return the favour for Firmino as Franco Armani scrambled helplessly throughout his uncovered web.
The evening, nevertheless, belonged to Alves. First Marcos Acuna and later Angel Di Maria tried and did not finest the outdated warrior, who was a relentless headache to Argentina on his raids ahead whereas barely placing a foot flawed when the time got here to defend.
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What different right-back, for instance, may double up as their facet’s major playmaker? Alves notched up extra passes than anybody else on the Brazil team, 30 greater than even Arthur within the center. He’s essential to this team, and when he performs – as in opposition to Peru – he appears to elevate the entire squad up with him.
Alves and Messi have been the one two survivors left in Belo Horizonte from the final time Brazil met Argentina in a serious finals. In 2007 the full-back got here off the bench to attain the third in a 3-Zero trouncing of Messi’s males, marking the primary of 4 finals through which the Barcelona wizard has ended on the dropping facet for his nation.
Twelve years later, Leo gave his all for an Argentina team which might be nonetheless within the technique of improvement, but it surely was not fairly sufficient. It’s Alves who will go on to the ultimate and the prospect to win the silverware Brazil covet so dearly, a becoming end result for a participant who has rolled again the years at this Copa to fireplace his facet ahead.