In how many finals have Argentina and Brazil faced each other?
Aston Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez was the hero for Argentina as he saved three times in a shootout vs Colombia to take his team into a Copa America final match-up with Brazil.
When you take a look at Lionel Messi's trophy cabinet, there isn't much missing.
No player in Barcelona's history has won more titles than Messi at Camp Nou – 10 LaLiga trophies and four Champions League crowns among his club-record haul of 34 pieces of silverware.
That's even before you get to his individual accolades and records… six Ballons d'Or to go with being Barcelona and Argentina's all-time leading goalscorer among other things.
But there is one glaring absence in Messi's trophy cabinet – a senior international title with Argentina. Unlike legendary countryman Diego Maradona and even Portuguese foe Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi has never conquered the international stage.
Regarded as one of, if not, the greatest footballer of all time, yet Messi has often been the bridesmaid and never the bride with La Albiceleste following three runners-up medals at the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016, while he was left heartbroken in the 2018 World Cup decider.
Such is the pain, there's also been periods of international retirement for Messi. The 34-year-old debating whether to shoulder the load of another drought-ending quest for Argentina, dating back to the 1993 Copa America.
But, thanks to Emiliano Martinez and his heroics, Messi's coveted dream of international glory remains alive as the superstar prepares for a fifth final in Argentina colours.
The final obstacle for the player from Rosario and his Argentina falls in the form of old foe Brazil and a 'SuperClasico de las Americas' on Saturday in Rio.
👐 @emimartinezz1 was the hero for Argentina as they booked their place in the #CopaAmérica final— Premier League (@premierleague) July 7, 2021
The @AVFCOfficial 'keeper stopped three penalties in the semi-final shootout! pic.twitter.com/5h7UCKwG9M
The rivalry between Argentina and Brazil dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century as both World Cup qualifiers and Copa America games have pitted the South American giants together.
Another chapter in the rivalry was written with the emergence of global greats Edson Arantes do Nascamento (aka Pelé) and later Diego Maradona with both mercurial talents fueling the "who is the best in the world" and furthering the tension between both nations.
Superclasico de las Americas finals
The Copa America has been the natural setting for both Latin giants to lock horns with the first head-to-head in a final coming in 1937 where both teams played in the South American Championship ( a pre-cursor to the Copa America) with Argentina winning the contest. In the only other two Copa America meetings, Brazil prevailed in 2004 with a win on penalties and three years later were too strong for 'La Albiceleste' with a 3-0 win in the final held in Venezuela.
The only major final where both nations locked horns was at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil entering the competition as World Cup holders and Argentine invited as Copa America runners-up. In a one sided contest in Frankfurt, Germany, the Seleçâo ran-out 4-1 winners in the final with Adriano (2), Kaka an d Ronaldinho on the scoresheet for Brazil.
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