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Copa America 2019: How has Lionel Messi fared against Brazil in international meetings

ANALYST
Feature
30 Jun 2019, 20:56 IST

Argentina v Venezuela: Quarterfinal - Copa America Brazil 2019
Argentina v Venezuela: Quarterfinal - Copa America Brazil 2019

Argentina eased past Venezuela in their Copa America quarter-final to set up a high profile clash with arch-rivals Brazil in the first semi-final of the tournament.

Albiceleste won the game 2-0, thanks to goals from Laturo Martinez and Giovanni Lo Celso, as Lionel Messi yet again failed to emulate his scintillating Barcelona form with his country.

If the 14-time champions are to progress to the final of the competition, they will need their captain to channel his inner club self in the national jersey during the mouth-watering match against the hosts, something that we haven't seen so far.

So, before the two South American giants go head to head at the Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, we take a brief look at Messi's record against the Selecao.


Messi played his first game against Brazil was an international friendly at the Emirates Stadium, soon after their 2006 World Cup campaign, in which both the nations had gone out in the quarterfinals.

Argentina lost the friendly match 3-0 as Messi failed to make much of an impact as he got his first taste of this epic rivalry.

Messi scored in the semi-final against Mexico as Argentina reached 2007 Copa America final
Messi scored in the semi-final against Mexico as Argentina reached 2007 Copa America final

Fast forward to 2007, the 32-year-old found himself up against Brazil in his first final for his country at the Copa America 2007.

He was in fine form in his maiden appearance at the continental tournament and had two goals and one assist to his name during the campaign.

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But the Brazilians were too strong for them and yet again the match ended in a 3-0 victory for them as Messi's wait for his first goal against them continued.

First goal in the South American El Clásico

17 November 2010, the venue was Doha's Khalifa International Stadium when the two nations with such a rich history in football met for an international friendly.

The then 23-year-old Messi weaved his way through the Brazilian defense having won the ball in his own half and scored an absolute stunner in the dying minutes of the game that ended 1-0, as he opened his account against the side after five attempts.


Messi steals the show with a hat-trick in a seven-goal thriller

His most memorable performance against Brazil came in an international friendly on 10 June 2012, in front of more than 80,000 fans at the MetLife Stadium, New Jersey.

He scored just his second hat-trick with Argentina in the match that had everything expected from the clash of the top two teams of the Southern Hemisphere, with both the sides matching each other intensity and remained neck and neck for the better part of the clash.

It was Messi's moment to shine, and it was his third goal and Argentina's fourth in the 85th minute that sealed the victory for the Albiceleste and with that he joined Paolo Rossi as one of the select few players to have scored a treble against the footballing giants.

He was also the first player since Pele to score a hat-trick in this historic fixture.


When we take a more comprehensive look at his record against them, the stats are four goals in nine appearances.

Further breaking them down all of these goals came in international friendlies, while he is yet to open his account against them in World Cup qualifiers or Copa America.

Tuesday's fixture has presented the five-time Ballon d'Or winner a golden opportunity to not only score his maiden goal against the fierce rivals at a major tournament, but the time is also ripe for him to shrug off a slump in form with his nation, given that he's only scored one goal, that too from a penalty in four games so far, despite notching 51 goals for his club in 2018-19 season.

Only time will tell whether Messi rises to the occasion and leads his nation to a fifth final and finally end the wait of millions of Argentinians, who are dying to see their superstar lift a trophy in the white and blue jersey for them.

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