Teary-eyed Neymar embraces Messi after Copa America final defeat

The Brazilian star wanted to congratulate his friend for fulfilling a lifelong dream

Neymar found Lionel Messi moments after Brazil’s 1-0 defeat in the Copa America final on Saturday night and gave the Argentina forward a congratulatory hug.

The former Barcelona team-mates remain great friends off the pitch, so Neymar wanted to salute his tournament rival even as he still had tears in his eyes from the loss. Later, the duo sat next to one another on the field to talk.

Neymar had struggled with physical challenges from defenders during the match as Messi earned his first senior international tournament triumph.

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What happened?

How did Argentina win?

Angel Di Maria burst past the Brazil back line and chipped a shot over the head of Ederson in the 22nd minute.

Neymar and Co. then found it difficult to create chances, with Richarlison coming closest to an equaliser in the second half.

Silva credits Albiceleste for first-half play

“First we have to congratulate our opponents especially for the first half when they neutralised us,” centre-back Thiago Silva told reporters.

“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.”

Bigger picture

Neymar had put together a phenomenal tournament before losing in the final, scoring two goals and delivering three assists, but that won’t ease the pain of falling just short of Copa America glory after watching injured from afar when Brazil won in 2019.

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