While the entire Europe is looking towards the European Championship which is set to end tonight with the final between England and Italy at Wembley, no one has really been talking about Copa America. While Manchester United will have players fighting for the European title on Sunday night, last night the Copa America 2021 was finished as Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana. Lionel Messi finally won the trophy he wanted so badly, but the Copa America was also another tournament where there were Manchester United players on display. Not many of them, though, but nevertheless, we will take a look at how they fared.
Man United had two players featuring at the Copa America, as Fred played regularly for Brazil, while Edinson Cavani had an important role in Uruguay’s results. Alex Telles was not called up for Brazil.
Fred The Finalist
We will start from Fred, as he was the one who almost won the trophy. Our central midfielder was one of the more important players in this Brazil team, which, if the tournament happened last summer, probably would not have happened. But this time he played six out of the seven games Brazil had to play. He was starter in all of them, first against Venezuela (3-0 win), Peru (4-0) and Colombia (2-1) in group stage, before skipping the 1-1 draw against Ecuadord. He played full match against Chile in the 1-0 quarter-final win, before he played important 85 minutes against Peru (1-0) in the semis. Against Argentina in the big final he only featured for the first 45 minutes, which was the result of his early booking, as Fred earned a yellow card just three minutes into the match. Fred provided one assist during this tournament, in the 4-0 win against Peru and overall had a really good tournament. That is especially true if we know had just nine caps for Brazil prior to this tournament and he had played six times for them already this summer.
Fred had the luxury of playing in a great team in a 4-2-3-1 formation, as his partner in central midfield was Real Madrid’s Casemiro. This enabled Fred to do more of his roaming defensive work and he also had Marquinhos and Thiago Silva at centre-back behind him. In the final against Argentina he was bit further up field in a 4-3-3, with Casemiro behind him and Lucas Paqueta as his central midfield partner. However, both of them earned bookings and had to be replaced…
Cavani’s Two Goals
Edinson Cavani has already won Copa America all the way back in 2011 and this time his Uruguay side did not manage to at least reach the semis and try to battle it out for the big final. Instead, they went out in the quarterfinal stage. First, there was a 1-0 loss to Argentina in the group, before a 1-1 draw against Chile. Against Bolivia, Edinson Cavani scored in a 2-0 win, before winning the match for Uruguay against Paraguay – scoring the only goal of the game. But then Colombia came in the quarters and there were no goals after 90 minutes. It went straight for penalties which Cavani scored, but Uruguay lost 4-2.