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Argentina vs Brazil - Combined XI | Copa America 2021 

Argentina and Brazil face off in a clash of titans in the 2021 Copa America final.
Argentina and Brazil face off in a clash of titans in the 2021 Copa America final.

South American giants Brazil and Argentina will lock horns in a blockbuster Copa America 2021 final on Saturday.

While holders Brazil will look to successfully defend their title, Argentina would hope to move on from past failures and end their long trophy drought spanning almost three decades.

This could also be the last time Lionel Messi, 34, pulls the strings for Argentina at the Copa America. If that's indeed the case, bowing out with a winner's medal would be a dream proposition for him.

Both teams have been impressive in the tournament so far. La Albiceleste have rode on their captain Messi's brilliance, while the Selecao have benefitted from the exploits of an in-form Neymar.

The reunion of the two friends, albeit on opposite sides of the field, is one fans are eagerly waiting for. However, it would be unfair to disregard many other quality players in the two teams, making the final all the more exciting.

This will the first competitive meeting between the two rivals since the Copa America 2019 semi-final, which Brazil won 2-0.

Argentina will hope to end their long title drought by winning their first title in 28 years, which should make for a great spectacle. On that note, let's take a look at how the two Latin American behemoths would stack up in a hypothetical combined XI:


Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martinez (Argentina)

Martinez saved three penalties against Colombia in the shootout.
Martinez saved three penalties against Colombia in the shootout.

It's a tough choice between Ederson Moraes and Emiliano Martinez. The former has been fine form between the sticks for holders Brazil, registering three clean sheets in as many games. But Martinez has made the bigger impact at the tournament, which is why the Argentina keeper gets the nod.

The former Arsenal custodian has produced numerous incredible saves, including a few in the tense penalty shootout victory over Colombia in the semi-final. Martinez is widely seen as Lionel Scaloni's most valuable player in the squad after Lionel Messi.

Martinez will have his task cut out in the final against the free-scoring Brazilians, though.

Right-back: Danilo (Brazil)

Danilo is physically strong and tough to beat in one-on-one situations.
Danilo is physically strong and tough to beat in one-on-one situations.

Despite registering one assist in the competition, Brazil's Danilo has fared poorly in attack. But he has more than made up for that with stoic defending, brilliantly intercepting passes and timing his runs to perfection.

He has averaged 2.5 ground duels per game, which suggests he has been excellent in winning back possession too. Argentina's marauding wingers could have a tough time competing for the ball with Danilo.


Centre-back: Marquinhos (Brazil)

Marquinhos has led from the back for Brazil at Copa America 2021.
Marquinhos has led from the back for Brazil at Copa America 2021.

He may not wear the captain's armband for Brazil, but Marquinhos has been a real leader in defence, often seen signalling to his teammates and stepping up in crucial moments.

The 27-year-old is strong aerially, too, winning 65% of his duels. The PSG star also got on the scoresheet against Venezuela on the opening day of Copa America 2021.


Centre-back: Thiago Silva (Brazil)

Silva is looking to captain Brazil to consecutive Copa America titles.
Silva is looking to captain Brazil to consecutive Copa America titles.

Joining Marquinhos at the heart of this hypothetical combined XI is Brazil captain Thiago Silva, who continues to produce performances belying his age.

He'll soon be 37 but plays with the youthful elegance of a much younger player. The Selecao legend reads the game brilliantly and has averaged three clearances per game at Copa America 2021.

Silva has played in big games like this one before, so his experience would be crucial against Argentina on Sunday.


Left-back: Nicolas Tagliafico (Argentina)

Tagliafico has impressed for Argentina at Copa America 2021.
Tagliafico has impressed for Argentina at Copa America 2021.

He may not be the most menacing full-back around, but Nicolas Tagliafico has made a statement with his lung-bursting stamina and enterprise at Copa America 2021.

Tagliafico has morphed into a serious attacking player with Argentina, so Brazil will need to keep an eye on him.

Right Midfielder: Everton Ribeiro (Brazil)

Everton has become a vital component of Tite's squad.
Everton has become a vital component of Tite's squad.

With Gabriel Jesus suspended for this clash, Brazil's Everton Ribeiro is likely to retain his place on the right side of midfield/wing depending on Tite's formation.

A scintillating bundle of energy with an eye for passing, the Flamengo star has linked up brilliantly with Neymar. He also got on the scoresheet against Peru in the group stage.


Defensive Midfielder: Casemiro (Brazil)

Casemiro will go up against Messi once again.
Casemiro will go up against Messi once again.

Brazil's anchorman, Casemiro, plays almost the same role for his national side as he does for Real Madrid, but without garnering too much limelight.

His positioning allows his more adventurous teammates to roam forward. Casemiro has been key in breaking down opposition teams' attacks, averaging almost 2.5 interceptions and as many tackles per game.

If he wins the midfield battle on Saturday, the Copa America title could well remain with Brazil.


Left Midfielder: Alejandro Gomez (Argentina)

Gomez has been involved in three goals for Argentina at Copa America 2021.
Gomez has been involved in three goals for Argentina at Copa America 2021.

Alejandro Gomez is truly an underrated creator in the game. He has been chipping away with numerous assists for club and country but to little acclaim.

In this edition of the Copa America, Gomez has even shown a more offensive side to his game, netting twice from as many appearances to go with one assist. His ability to find space in the box or lose his marker by dropping off into the flanks should see Gomez start against Brazil on Sunday.

Right Winger: Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Messi could all but secure his seventh Ballon d'Or award if Argentina win the Copa title.
Messi could all but secure his seventh Ballon d'Or award if Argentina win the Copa title.

With four goals and five assists to his name, Lionel Messi has truly shone for Argentina at Copa America 2021.

He has been their heartbeat, controlling his side's rhythm with excellent vision and slicing opposition defences open with immaculate through-balls. But more than anything, it's his passion on the field that has won him the admiration of many. Could this be the day when Messi finally lifts an international trophy?


Striker: Lautaro Martinez (Argentina)

Martinez is Argentina's new prolific No. 9.
Martinez is Argentina's new prolific No. 9.

Lautaro Martinez has successfully led the line for Argentina at Copa America 2021 even as Sergio Aguero continues to struggle for form and fitness.

Martinez is only behind his teammate Messi in terms of goals, having netted thrice in the competition thus far. But his goalscoring prowess will be put through a stern test against Selecao, who've conceded only twice in six games.


Left Winger: Neymar (Brazil)

Having missed Brazil's title run in 2019, Neymar is looking for his first Copa title.
Having missed Brazil's title run in 2019, Neymar is looking for his first Copa title.

If it wasn't for Messi's rich vein of form, Neymar would've easily walked home with the best player of the tournament award.

That's because the PSG star has been at the top of his game for Brazil at Copa America 2021, shouldering his team's creative mantle with elan while also bagging two goals.

His excellent reading of the game could be crucial in breaking down the Albiceleste, with the 29-year-old gunning for only his second international trophy with the Selecao.

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Edited by Bhargav
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