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Messi and Maracana: His Best and Worst Moments at Iconic Stadium Ahead of Brazil vs Argentina Clash
- Lionel Messi and Argentina will face arch-rivals Brazil at the Maracana Stadium tonight
- Messi suffered his most painful defeat in this venue in the 2014 World Cup Final
- He redeemed himself in 2021, leading Argentina to Copa America glory at the Maracana
Lionel Messi and Maracana will forever be linked together.
Two of the football icon’s biggest games happened in this famous venue.
Sports Brief looks at the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner's best and worst moments at the Maracana Stadium ahead of the World Cup qualifier between Argentina and Brazil.
2014 World Cup Final heartbreak
The stage was set for Messi’s coronation at the Maracana in the 2014 World Cup Final. Argentina headed into that final against Germany in fine form, winning all of their matches in the tournament.
They finished top of Group F, recording victories over Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iran.
They then defeated Switzerland 1-0 in added extra time in the round of 16, beat Belgium 1-0 in the quarter-finals, and edged past the Netherlands in a tense penalty shootout to book a spot in the final.
Messi single-handedly dragged La Albiceleste to the 2014 final, scoring four goals and dishing out one assist in those six matches.
Unfortunately for Messi and his legions of supporters, there was no fairytale ending for the Argentine star that fateful night on July 13, 2014.
Germany broke their hearts in added extra time, with Mario Gotze scoring the match-winning goal in the 113th minute.
Messi had an opportunity to equalise for Argentina in the final minute of extra time, but his free-kick attempt went high over the crossbar.
Messi was adjudged the best player of the 2014 World Cup and captured the FIFA Golden Ball Award, per The Guardian.
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That prize proved hollow, though, for Messi, whose dream of winning an international title with Argentina was dashed once more.
Messi admitted in a recent chat with Zinedine Zidane that Argentina’s loss to Germany in the 2014 final still haunts him to this day.
2021 Copa America Final redemption
Messi returned to the scene of his biggest heartbreak seven years later, with Argentina facing Brazil in the 2021 Copa America final.
The Copa America was supposed to be held in Argentina, but the COVID pandemic prevented that from happening.
Brazil took over as host, with the iconic Maracana Stadium selected as the venue for the final.
Messi single-handedly carried La Albiceleste into the final, scoring four goals and dishing out five assists in their first six matches.
That set the stage for Argentina’s blockbuster clash with Brazil in the championship match.
Messi rallied the troops before the much-awaited final with his inspirational speech sending chills down the spines of his teammates, per Eurosport.
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They answered their captain’s call, with Angel Di Maria’s 22nd-minute strike proving to be the match-winner in Argentina’s 1-0 victory.
As soon as the final whistle sounded, the Argentina team rushed to Messi, who finally tasted success at the international level.
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Messi's goalscoring record vs. Brazil
Sports Brief recently examined Messi's goalscoring record against Brazil.
The Argentine star has never scored against Brazil in a senior competitive fixture.
All of his five goals against the Brazilians have come in friendly matches.