28 Jun 2022 | 08:17 | Football
Argentina won the final with a convincing 3-0 victory over Italy at a crowded Wembley Stadium.
First-half goals from Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria put Lionel Scaloni’s side in charge, with substitute Paulo Dybala’s goal in stoppage time only reflecting Argentina’s advantage.
Last year’s match between the Copa America and European Cup winners was surprisingly one-sided as Lionel Messi led his side to a well-deserved victory, the performance of which was recalled in front of an adoring crowd years.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing the history of this competition, because in its previous incarnation, the Artemio Franchi Cup, it was last held in 1993. Argentina beat Denmark on penalties. Diego Maradona lifts the trophy.
Italy: Donnarumma (7), Di Lorenzo (6), Bonucci (5), Chiellini (5), Emerson (6), Pesina (5), Jorginho (6) , Barrera (6), Bernardeschi (5), Belotti (5), Laspadori (7).
submarine: Lazari (6), Scamaka (6), Locatelli (6), Spinazzola (6), Bastoni (6).
Argentina: Martinez (6), Molina (7), Romero (7), Otamendi (7), Tagliafico (8), DePaul (8), Rodriguez (7) ), Messi (9), Lo Celso (7), Di Maria (9), Lautaro Martinez (9).
submarine: Palacios (6), Alvarez (n/a), Pezera (n/a), Gonzalez (n/a), Dybala (n/a).
Competition male: Lionel Messi.
The only other occasion it was staged was the inaugural event in 1985 – when France beat Uruguay – but supporters from both sides attended as 87,112 people packed the stadium.
The Argentine fans among them, of course, enjoyed the celebration.
For Italy, their Euro 2020 win over England last summer was unpleasant. It heralded a revival in Italian football under Roberto Mancini, but they have since failed to qualify for the World Cup and have been beaten here.
Attacking on the back of the Argentine, the South American team played more aggressively from the start, with Di Maria attempting an ambitious attempt from distance before Messi hit the wall with a free-kick he won.
It was five minutes before the No. 10’s first touch – cheers – but Italy were just starting to gain their footing in the game and it was his touch in the 28th minute that led to the opening goal. Messi locked his marker, ran away and allowed Martinez to score.
The Inter striker finished straight after Messi’s magic, but he became the provider with some more impressive work in first-half stoppage time. Martinez’s strong defence earned him space to pass behind the Italian defence.
Di Maria managed to get between the retreating Chiellini and the advancing Gianluigi Donnarumma, continuing to save the ball over the goalkeeper’s head and sparking frenzied celebrations among the enthusiastic Argentine crowd .
Mancini made three changes at half-time – Chiellini, in one of his last appearances – but Argentina continued to enjoy Di Maria’s test with a deflected shot at half-time Donnarumma then made a fine save with a volley on the edge of the box as Messi pulled back the corner.
Giovanni Lo Celso should have done better when trying to pass from Messi’s midfield, and the captain himself almost ecstatically delighted his supporters, only to be denied by Donnarumma three times in a row in the second half.
Messi, on the pitch where he won the Champions League in 2011, was performing party tricks with an increasingly disjointed Italy, and when the third goal finally came, he was actively involved, with Dybala in the midst of a move from veterans. .
After years of hard work, Messi was able to lift another trophy in Argentina – repeating Maradona’s 1993 feat.
There was a time when people in his hometown wondered why Messi couldn’t reach the same heights for his country as he managed for the club – Argentina watched with envy as Barcelona took the most from the best player on the planet. good player.
How that changed. At new club Paris Saint-Germain, a season in which Messi’s level was seen to have dropped – even booed at one stage – has begun with the Copa America trophy and ended with a Finalissima success.
Argentina is now his happy place.
This is not the great Barcelona team. On paper, it wasn’t even the best Argentina team of his long career. But this is a real team. Scaloni found a balance that no one else could. With the World Cup later this year, who knows where this will take them.