2019 Copa America

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Messi handles fine, ban for Copa America outburst

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You could probably call this a slap on the wrist for Lionel Messi, but it’s probably more like a tickle of his ear.

CONMEBOL have decided to fine the Barcelona and Argentina star just $1,500 for his explosive outburst after being sent off in the 2019 Copa America tournament earlier this summer.

That hefty fine will teach him…

Messi, 32, has also had his one-match ban (for being sent off) upheld and he will now miss Argentina’s first 2022 World Cup qualifier.

Following his red card for a clash with Chile’s Gary Medel during the third-place playoff match, both players were sent off and it’s safe to say Messi was far from happy with how everything went down as he criticized the refereeing and quality of the pitches in Brazil.

“We don’t have to be part of this corruption,” Messi said. “They have showed us a lack of respect throughout this tournament. Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don’t allow people to enjoy football, they ruined it a bit. I think the cup is fixed for Brazil. I hope that the VAR and the referees have nothing to do in this final and that Peru can compete because they have the team to do so although I think it’s difficult.”

Messi has since apologized for his comments and this punishment is the end of the matter. At least for him…

CONMEBOL have taken Argentina FA leader Claudio Tapia off their seat in the decision-making FIFA council. Tapia followed Messi as he hit out at CONMEBOL in an open letter following their semifinal defeat to hosts Brazil.

Copa America team of the tournament announced

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The 2019 Copa America team of the tournament has been announced, and Lionel Messi hasn’t been included in the best XI.

Hmm. I wonder why…

Messi slammed CONMEBOL officials and referees for “corruption” and said the tournament was “fixed” for Brazil to win it.

That led to South America’s governing body releasing a statement defending its officials and a ban is likely coming up for Mr. Messi. So, yeah, he’s not in the team of the tournament and his one goal in six games could also suggest why that was the case.

The Selecao did win the tournament, beating surprise finalists Peru 3-1 in the final, as the hosts were dominant throughout.

Five Brazilian players feature in the team of the tournament with Alisson, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Arthur and Everton all included. But Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino both had very good tournaments for the hosts, while Alexis Sanchez also had his moments before he suffered an injury.

Peru’s Miguel Trauco and Paolo Guerrero were also in the best XI, while James Rodriguez from Colombia, Leandro Paredes from Argentina, Chile’s Arturo Vidal and Uruguay’s Jose Gimenez are all the lone representatives from their nations.

Below is the team of the tournament in full.


2019 Copa America Team of the Tournament

Goalkeeper: Alisson
Defenders: Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Jose Gimenez, Miguel Trauco
Midfielders: Arthur, Arturo Vidal, Leando Paredes
Forwards: Everton, James Rodriguez, Paolo Guerrero

Jesus scores, assists, sent off as Brazil beats Peru in Copa America final (video)

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Gabriel Jesus assisted on the opening goal and scored the winner before being sent off in Brazil’s 3-1 victory over Peru in the final of the 2019 Copa America on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Watch the USWNT lift the World Cup trophy ]

The triumph is Brazil’s ninth as South American champions (sixth of the Copa America era) and their first since 2007. It’s the first time Brazil has lifted the trophy on home soil since 1989.

The scoring began quickly — though, not quite as quickly as when Brazil beat Peru 5-0 during group play — courtesy of Everton, in the 15th minute. Jesus floated a ball to the back post and Everton slotted it home with a powerful finish just inside the near post.

Peru drew level not long before halftime, thanks to a handball by Thiago Silva. Paolo Guerrero stepped up to the spot and converted the penalty kick in the 44th minute.

The 1-1 scoreline didn’t quite last until halftime, though, as Jesus tucked a tidy finish into the back of the net in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. Arthur dribbled past a whole host of Peruvians before slipping a tough pass through to Jesus near the edge of the box.

The red card came midway through the second half. Jesus had been clattered into moments earlier, prompting him to raise his elbow as he went up for an aerial duel. It was a hard foul with clear intent, plenty worthy of a yellow card — his second of the game. Clearly upset at the decision — or, maybe himself — Jesus melted down as he left the field (WATCH HERE) before he was seen crying atop the stairs inside the tunnel at the Maracana.

Richarlison tacked on a penalty kick in the 90th minute, resulting from a highly questionable decision by the referee. It was a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge that seemed to heavily favor the home team.

Watch Live: Brazil v. Peru, 2019 Copa America final

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Brazil has its sights set on becoming South American champions for the ninth time, while Peru hopes to claim its third continental title, when the two nations meet in the 2019 Copa America final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday (4 p.m. ET).

[ STREAM: Brazil v. Peru, Copa America final on Telemundo Deportes ]

The host nation is yet to concede a goal this tournament and has outscored opponents by a combined margin of 10-0, including a 5-0 thrashing of this same Peru side during the group stage.

The degree to which Peru beating Brazil in the final, in Rio, would be an upset is almost incomprehensible. The Selecao has won its last four final appearances, dating back to 1997, while Peru hasn’t appeared in a final since last winning it in 1975.

Watch game live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes and via the NBCSports App. All you have to do is click on the link above.

Messi: Copa America ‘corrupt’ and ‘fixed’ for Brazil

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Lionel Messi received his first red card in 14 years on Saturday, and it was just the second of his glittering career.

The Argentina and Barcelona star didn’t accept his sending off quietly. At all.

Speaking to reporters after Argentina beat Chile 2-1 to seal third place at the 2019 Copa America in Brazil, Messi revealed that he believes the referees and CONMEBOL aren’t being fair and that everything is set up for Brazil to win the final against Peru on Sunday.

“We don’t have to be part of this corruption,” Messi said. “They have showed us a lack of respect throughout this tournament. Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don’t allow people to enjoy football, they ruined it a bit. I think the cup is fixed for Brazil. I hope that the VAR and the referees have nothing to do in this final and that Peru can compete because they have the team to do so although I think it’s difficult.”

Messi’s lost his cool along with Chile’s Gary Medel in a heated confrontation which involved plenty of shoulder barging, but both players deserved probably a yellow card each and a stern talking too. The red card was harsh and Messi is feeling rightly aggrieved.

But he seems to have taken it a little too far with these comments, as a statement from CONMEBOL (which didn’t name Messi directly) said that “unfounded accusations have been launched that lack the truth and question the integrity of the Copa America. These accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the participating players and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL.”

You can’t help but feel that over 15 years of close calls, and ultimate failure, for Argentina are weighing heavy on Messi’s shoulders. They’ve now lost in a World Cup final, three Copa America finals and a Copa America semifinal with Messi, who has come out of international retirement, as their main main.

Until he wins some silverware on the international stage, those questions will always be asked about how good he actually was compared to Pele, Diego Maradona and even Cristiano Ronaldo who have all led their nations to silverware.

Messi, 32, probably has one last crack at winning the World Cup with Argentina in 2022 before he calls it quits. The clock is ticking and Messi is feeling the pressure, with his presence at the 2020 Copa America, joint hosted by Argentina and Colombia, now far from certain after this outburst.