Either Brazil or Argentina will have to face a tragedy yet again: A replay of the so-called “Agony of Mineirao” for the former or a cruel history repeating itself for Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.
The arch-rivals will play against each other in the 2019 Copa America semi-finals at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday (Korea time) held in the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Brazil suffered a shocking 7-1 defeat by Germany at the semi-final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which was also held in the Mineirao stadium. Following the game, dubbed as the “Agony of Mineirao,” Brazilian fans set fire to Brazilian flags while there were several reports of violence in the streets. Just like five years ago, the competition’s host country is Brazil.
The country’s footballers seem to be particularly determined not to repeat the same mistakes again. Central defender Thiago Silva has said that the players should not continue thinking of bad memories but concentrate on stopping Messi, one of the best footballers in the world.
In the meantime, Messi does not have good memories for the Copa America, either. The striker has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award as many as five times, but had no luck in major competitions including the World Cup and the Copa America. In 2007, 2015, and 2016, Argentina had advanced to the semi-finals but lost all three finals.
In this year’s Copa America competition, the well-organized defense of opponents has held Messi to only one goal. Spanish daily Marca reported that Brazilian fans are holding him up to ridicule by saying that he doesn’t have any presence in games or that he is only good when he plays for FC Barcelona. The Argentine superstar has accepted such criticism, acknowledging that he has not had his “best Copa America.” Resolved to clinch a trophy, however, Messi has said that “No one can predict the outcome of a single-round match. Argentina is getting stronger as a team.”
Yun-Cheol Jeong email@example.com