Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino each scored to help lead Brazil to a 2-0 victory over Argentina in their Copa America semifinal match on Tuesday night.
The victory will send Brazil through to the final on their home soil, while also continuing Argentina’s drought of over 25 years in international competition without a trophy.
Firmino, Jesus Combine on Both Scores
Argentina last won Copa America in 1993, and last won the World Cup in 1986.
Brazil opened the scoring 18 minutes into the match, when Firmino played a cross in to his Manchester City teammate Gabriel Jesus, who put away the score with his first touch to give Brazil an early 1-0 lead.
— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) July 3, 2019
Argentina would then start generating chances, with Lionel Messi finding multiple opportunities to tie up the match. His best attempt may have come from a free kick about a half-hour into the first half, when Messi played a free kick into Sergio Aguero, who connected on a header to beat Alisson. But the ball clanged off the crossbar and didn’t cross the goal line, keeping Brazil in the lead.
As more and more chances went wanting for the Argentinians, Brazil looked to extend its lead, and finally found the breakthrough in the 71st minute. Jesus made a spectacular run from midfield, beating three defenders before finding Firmino for an easy tap-in to give Brazil what proved to be an unassailable 2-0 advantage.
What. A. Run.
Gabriel Jesus puts it on a platter for Roberto Firmino, and Brazil has one foot in the #CopaAmerica final
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) July 3, 2019
Brazil still has yet to allow a goal in the 2019 Copa America, with Alisson posting five clean sheets thus far.
“It was another step towards our objective. We’re achieving all the goals that we’re setting ourselves,” Brazilian captain Dani Alves said after the match. “A lot of people doubt us but we have a lot of faith in ourselves, in our plan, in our hard work.”
Messi Claims Copa America Refs Biased Towards Brazil
The result will be a bitter disappointment for Argentina as a whole and Messi in particular, whose brilliant career has been marred by a lack of success when playing with his country. While talking to reporters after the match, Messi said he felt that Brazil benefited from biased officiating in a match that Argentina had done enough to earn a win from.
“They were not better than us,” Messi said. “The officiating was crazy. There were clear penalties, on Nicolas Otamendi, on Sergio Aguero. [The referee] was on their side. In every divided ball or dispute, he inclined the pitch their way. It’s not an excuse, but the truth is that, in this Copa, they kept on blowing for stupid things, for handballs, for penalties. But today, they didn’t even go to VAR when there were clear plays that should have been looked at.”
Brazil will now go on to face the winner of Wednesday’s second semifinal between Peru and two-time defending Copa America champions Chile.
While Chile is favored in that match, Brazil will be considered a prohibitive favorite to win Sunday’s final no matter who it plays. At the FanDuel Sportsbook, Brazil is a -556 pick to lift the Copa America trophy, with both Chile (+285) and Peru (+975) considered significant longshots to beat the hosts in a final.