Angel Di Maria Leads Argentina to Copa America Title

Angel Di Maria will be getting a hero’s welcome…

Argentina won their first major title in 28 years on Saturday when a goal by the 33-year-old Argentine professional footballer gave them a 1-0 win over Brazil and a record-equaling 15th Copa America.

Angel Di Maria

Argentina’s win was a particular triumph for Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who picked up his first ever title in a blue and white shirt after more than a decade of club and individual honors.

Di Maria started for just the second time in the Copa and he justified his selection by scoring the opener midway through the first half.

Renan Lodi failed to cut out a long ball forward from Rodrigo De Paul and Di Maria lobbed the stranded Ederson with aplomb.

Brazil piled on the pressure in an exciting second half but even with five strikers on the field they could not get an equalizer against an Argentine defense protected by the outstanding De Paul.

“I can’t cry yet,” Di Maria said after the match. “We dreamed of getting this, and we fought. Many people criticized us and asked us not to come back [to the national team].”

The match itself was a disappointing one, with Argentina the better side in a cagey first half that featured 21 fouls.

“First we have to congratulate our opponents especially for the first half when they neutralized us,” said Brazilian defender Thiago Silva.

“In the second half there was no contest — only one team tried to play football, the other just wasted time as we knew they would. It’s not an excuse, we didn’t do what we had to, principally in the first half.”

The Argentine players surrounded their captain at the final whistle. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez celebrated what he called a Maracanazo, a remarkable win at the famous Rio stadium.

“I’m speechless,” he said. “I knew my dream would come true, and where better than the Maracanazo and giving the title to the best in the world and fulfilling his dream.”

Messi finished the tournament’s joint top goalscorer with four goals and was elected joint best player along with Neymar. But he was quiet throughout and uncharacteristically missed a golden opportunity to wrap the game up with two minutes remaining.

When the final whistle went, Argentina TV declared “Argentina Champions, Lionel Messi Champion!”

“This is a very big title,” said Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni. “I hope that Argentines can enjoy it. The fans love the team unconditionally and I think they identify with this side that never drops its guard.”

The victory was Argentina’s 15th Copa America triumph and means they draw level with Uruguay as the all-time leading winners.

Their win extended their sequence of undefeated matches to 20 under Lionel Scaloni and handed Brazil their first competitive defeat since they lost to Belgium in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup.

Neymar Leads Brazil to Victory Over Mexico at the FIFA World Cup

Neymar is makin’ his mark on the global stage’…

The 26-year-old Brazilian soccer star helped propel his national team into the quarterfinals at the FIFA World Cup by scoring the winning goal against Mexico.

Neymar

It was Neymar’s second goal at the 2018 World Cup, and his sixth overall in World Cup competition.

Roberto Firmino put it away near the buzzer to seal the 2-0 victory, ending a tournament for El Tri that started perfectly and ended horribly.

The talented Brazilians were by far the stronger team in the match, but Mexico had chances to make it more of a game. In the end, Mexico leaves Russia with consecutive scoreless matches. Brazil had 21 shots, 10 on frame, but a fantastic performance from keeper Guillermo Ochoa kept Mexico in it.

Mexico saw plenty of the ball in the box, recording 13 shots, but only one tested Alisson in goal.

With the match going back and forth, the winner came on 51 minutes off a stellar bit of play by Neymar. He got the ball to Willian, and the winger returned the favor in front of goal to open the scoring.

Brazil will next face Belgium in the quarterfinals.

Brazil finished fourth in the cup in 2014, but crashed out in the quarterfinals in 2006 and 2010.

Nicky Jam & Will Smith Release Music Video for Their 2018 FIFA World Cup Song “Live It Up!,” Featuring Era Istrefi

Nicky Jam is livin’ it up

The 37-year-old Dominican andPuerto Rican singer-songwriter has released the music video for “Live It Up!,” featuring Will Smith and Era Istrefi.

Nicky Jam & Will Smith

It’s the official 2018 FIFA World Cup song, and it serves as an ode to the sport of soccer no matter where it’s played.

The video opens with a motivational quote to kick things off: “Where there is unity, there is always victory.”

A sense of unity is created by then splicing together shots of different games of soccer, whether it be a barefoot round in the dirt or surrounded by a stadium crowd.

As Jam and Smith take turns on the verses, the video exemplifies the unifying effect of sports and serves as inspiration to any budding athlete yearning for a chance to kick it at the World Cup.