Another Copa, another chance for Argentina to end drought
- Updated: June 11, 2021
BUENOS AIRES: This year’s Copa America gives Argentina another chance to break a 28-year trophy drought, which has been made even harder by a venue switch from home turf to that of arch-rivals Brazil.
The Argentinians were supposed to stage the tournament this year, but with COVID-19 cases surging, it was moved at the last minute and Brazil are now hosting their second Copa America in succession, beginning on Sunday (Jun 13).
The last time Argentina won the tournament was in 1993, their 14th title, with Diego Simeone anchoring the midfield and Gabriel Batistuta scoring goals at centre-forward.
Since then, they have reached the final four times, all since 2004, and failed to lift the trophy. It is a galling run for a proud footballing nation and especially for players like Lionel Messi, who are not used to being second best.
Winning the Copa is “always our dream”, Messi said last week.
“Whatever the competition, we always want to win something with the national team. The truth is that the boys are very keen and the older ones maybe even more so,” he said.
Messi will turn 34 on Jun 24 so this could be his last chance to finally pick up some silverware while wearing a blue-and-white shirt, having collected a plethora of trophies playing for Barcelona.
The switch to Brazil will undoubtedly make things harder for the Argentinians, but it could also provide them with more of an incentive.
Argentina were beaten 2-0 in the Copa America semi-final by Brazil in 2019 in a game marked by refereeing controversy.
Decisions went against them and, although they might deny it, they will be keen to extract, if not revenge, then at least a chance to write a successful chapter in their history.