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Argentina Beats Colombia to Win Record-Breaking Copa America Title

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Argentina clinched their record-breaking 16th Copa America title in a dramatic final against Colombia at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, despite being without their star player, Lionel Messi, for most of the match.

Messi, the Argentine captain, was forced off the field in the second half due to a foot injury, leaving him in tears on the substitutes’ bench. However, Lautaro Martinez stepped up in his absence, scoring the only goal of the game in extra time, securing the win for Argentina.

With this victory, Argentina surpasses Uruguay to become the team with the most Copa America titles in history. This triumph also marks their third major tournament win in a row under coach Lionel Scaloni, following their Copa America victory in 2021 and the World Cup win in Qatar in 2022.

“I don’t know if we’ve defined an era, but this team no longer surprises me,” Scaloni said. “We improved in the second half and deserved to win. It’s gratifying to watch the team play.”

Angel Di Maria made his final appearance for Argentina, ending his international career with a title.

“It was written. It had to be like this. I dreamed of retiring in this way,” Di Maria said. “I have so many beautiful feelings. I will be eternally grateful to this generation, which helped me achieve what I had always wanted. What better way is there to end than this? It’s not easy to reach finals and not easy to win them. I know because I’ve been on the other side of them.”

Midfielder Rodrigo De Paul added,

“We understand that football has no memory. You have to keep going. I’m very proud of the team, of my teammates, and to be Argentine.”

The match was marred by chaotic and dangerous scenes outside the stadium as thousands of supporters were prevented from entering, causing a delay in the kick-off. Originally scheduled for 8pm ET, the match finally started at 9.22pm ET.

“It’s difficult to explain and understand,” Scaloni said of the delay. “Players had to go and get their families in. They were sending messages, looking at the videos going around. The Colombian players were in the same situation.”

Argentina’s path to the final saw them top Group A with wins over Canada, Chile, and Peru. They advanced past Ecuador in the quarterfinals after a penalty shootout and defeated Canada again in the semifinals. Colombia, meanwhile, opened with wins over Paraguay and Costa Rica in Group D, drawing with Brazil to progress as group winners. They then beat Panama 5-0 in the quarterfinals and defeated Uruguay in the semifinals to reach their third final in history, setting a record of 28 matches unbeaten along the way. However, that streak ended in Miami with Argentina taking the title.

Argentina will remain in Miami to celebrate their victory before returning home to Buenos Aires, where they are expected to receive a hero’s welcome. The win not only solidifies their dominance in South American football but also sets the stage for continued success on the international stage.