Copa America: Messi's Argentina faces Vinicius Junior's Brazil, who will lift the cup on July 15 in the United States ?

Copa America: Messi's Argentina faces Vinicius Junior's Brazil, who will lift the cup on July 15 in the United States ?

Lionel Messi, the Argentinian legend, in search of a new title. MAXPPP – Le Parisien/Arnaud Journois

Copa America: Messi's Argentina faces Vinicius Junior's Brazil, who will lift the cup on July 15 in the United States ?

Et si Vinicius Junior remportait le Ballon d’Or 2024.

The 48th Copa America is being played in the United States against a backdrop of rivalry between Argentina and Brazil.

The reigning Argentine world champions, led by their totem Lionel Messi, and Vinicius Jr's Brazil, in great shape, are dreaming of the 48th Copa America, played in the United States, from Thursday until the 14th. ;July. The tournament launches a series of three major competitions in the land of "soccer", before the new version of the FIFA Club World Cup in 2025 and then the 48-country Gigantism World Cup co-organized with Mexico and Canada in 2026.

Lionel Messi has not ruled out still being present in 2026, but for the moment he is eyeing the Copa America, which he finally won with the ;rsquo;Argentina in 2021. In an experienced group which includes 22 world champions, Messi obviously finds Angel di Maria or even Lautaro Martinez.

Messi, one more trophy?

The eight-time Ballon d’Or, who will celebrate its 37th anniversary on June 24, will open the competition against Canada on Thursday in Atlanta before a shock in the first round on June 25 against Chile, reminder of the two finals lost by the Albiceleste in 2015 and 2016. Messi is even more the face of this Copa since he has been playing at Inter Miami since July 2023.

The city with a Latino accent (the community most focused on "soccer" in the USA) is establishing itself as the new stronghold of American football, where the final will take place of the tournament and where Fifa has set up offices. Freed from the rhythm and harshness of European football, Messi offers himself the luxury of arriving fresher at the Copa, little marked by the senatorial train of the MLS championship, where he continues to pile up the goals (12 after 19 days) without being criticized for his lack of races.

Vinicius, future Ballon d’Or

With his dragster acceleration, Vinicius Junior has brought European football into line, recently winning a second Champions League with Real Madrid, and establishing himself as leader of Brazil, another giant of the world. South America, in the absence of Neymar, operated in November for a rupture of the cruciate ligaments and meniscus of the left knee.

"I haven’t won a national team title yet, I hope to do so now. We prepared well. This generation is strong and we want to do great things with the Seleçao", said Vinicius, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on July 12.

He will play in the Seleçao with his Real teammates Rodrygo (attacker) and Eder Militao (defender), and will be able to cover his future Madrid teammate Endrick, the new star of Auriverde football who is playing at 17 years old his first big tournament.

Joint record holder for the number of victories in the competition with Argentina (15), Uruguay advances with Darwin Nunez and the eternal Luis Suarez, Messi's teammate in Miami, but without Edinson Cavani, who announced his international retirement at the end of May. Argentina's Marcelo Bielsa will sit on the bench (or the icebox) of the Celeste, in search of a first personal Copa after his failures with Argentina.

The United States, more than ever the country of soccer

As in 2016, for the centenary Copa, the competition will take place in the United States with a format expanded to 16 teams, the ten usual South American competitors of Conmebol being joined by six members of Concacaf (North, Central America and the Caribbean).

The Copa and its 32 matches are like an aperitif before the World Cup 2026 and its 104 matches, including 78 in the United States. Eight stadiums are part of the system for the two competitions, including the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the MetLife Stadium in New York, future home of the World Cup final.

The American host, with a team in full doubt, lacks a priori arguments to compete with the great South American nations, despite the draw snatched against Brazil (1-1) last week in a preparation match.

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