Copa America Final: Running commentary

Well, I'm starting about 3 minutes in, so to catch up:

2' -- Alex makes a brilliant run into the penalty area and is taken down by about four Argentine defenders. Even this early, it should have been a penalty.

OK...ready to go (keep in mind, I'm completely neutral here...bring on Brazil "B" vs. Argentina "B"!!!)

4' -- Javier Zanetti's shot is poorly palmed away by Julio Cesar (he should have reeled it in), but the resulting corner(s) comes to nothing.

6' -- Gabriel Heinze gets elbowed in the face by Adriano, no card. Awesome.

7' -- Zanetti makes a nice run into the penalty area, but his dive did not impress the judges...better acting than most summer blockbusters, anyway.

8' -- Excellent run down the right flank by Kleberson, but the Argentine defense is up to the task.

8' -- Slight contact on Luis Oscar Gonzalez, who goes down like he's been tazered. It's still 0-0, but 2-0 to Argentina in the diving stakes.

9' -- Gustavo Nery does a great job to win the ball, and gets hosed on the ensuing call...should have been a corner.

10' -- Free kick to Argentina...nice to see the Brazilian rugby team making an apperance today.

10' -- Juan Pablo Sorin gets a weak, off-balance header off, but Cesar is in perfect position. It never troubled him, but great effort from the Argentine midfielder to even get a half-chance out of it.

11' -- Another fantastic run by Kleberson, and his cross is hilariously mishandled by Roberto Carlos Abbondanzieri. Adriano gets a rocket of a shot away, but it sails harmlessly wide. Good chance created there, though.

13' -- Luis Fabiano wins a free kick from a judo throw by the Argentine defender...comes to nothing, though.

13' -- Argentina break quickly the other way, Mauro Rosales sends a decent shot wide of the post.

14' -- Even, scrappy stuff so far. Typical cup final, then.

14' -- Zanetti does well to earn a corner. The Brazilian defense clears easily, though.

15' -- Roberto Fabian Ayala flies headlong into a tackle, but does fantastically well to get the ball away from the ever-dangerous Alex. Corner for Brazil, comes back to Maicon, whose long shot ends up in row Z.

16' -- Searching ball from Gonzalez finds only Cesar. Nice build-up, though. Brazil comes back the other way, but the cross is easily handled by Heinze, Manchester United's best signing of the offseason (in my opinion).

18' -- Back and forth, this is just great football...both defenses are playing very well though. The two sides are having trouble breaking through to the penalty area.

19' -- The fouls are 8-4 Brazil already. Damn.

20' --  PENALTY! Very bad, late tackle by Juan (I think) on Cristian Gonzalez. He'll take it himself....

21' -- GOL!!!!!!! He looked super-cool in the run-up, and he smartly placed it in the right-hand corner of the net. Cesar dived the wrong way, and truth be told, he'd have had a real chance to save it if he guessed right.

23' -- Uncharacteristically, a poor clearance from Sorin leads to a corner. The corner is well taken, but the wide-open Gustavo Nery's header left something to be desired...he should have done better.

24' -- Kleberson (Brazil's best player by miles so far) sends a searching ball into the area, but Abbondanzieri manages to corral it this time.

24' -- Right back the other way, but Rosales trips over...well...the penalty area chalk line, I guess.

25' -- Rough foul from Sorin on Brazil's Adriano, it's a yellow.

26' -- Nice work from Rosales to get open on the right, but his cross goes right into Cesar's hands.

27' -- Despite the scoreline, Brazil's pressing game is working well so far. If they keep it up, I forsee them forcing Argentina into a mistake sooner or later.

27' -- Cristian Gonzalez makes a wonderful scything run into the middle, but he failed to get enough power on the shot or place it high enough, allowing Cesar to palm it to safety. Good save.

28' -- Cesar makes a nice punch on the ensuing corner, then Ayala is a few time zones offside on the following play.

29' -- Here Argentina comes again...they're rolling now. Fabiano briefly clears, then Carlos Alberto Tevez can't get past the yellow forcefield guarding the penalty area.

30' -- Brazil looks rattled...the crisp football of the first 20 minutes or so is out the window at the moment.

31' -- Fabiano gets the over-the-back treatment from Javier Mascherano, but gets the foul called on him. Strange.

32' -- Kleberson makes yet another bombing run down the right, and his cross is absolutely beautiful. Alex's header, on the other hand, is anything but...the Boca Juniors keeper will be grateful for that.

36' -- I was calling up the lineups for both teams, so I missed Argentina winning a corner. It comes to nothing, and not much else of note happened in the preceding four minutes anyway.

37' -- There are several European teams (cough cough England cough cough) who should be watching this as a clinic on running at defenders...both teams are doing it very well.

38' -- Edu, showing his Premiership experience, roughly fouls Luis Gonzalez for the game's second booking...that's probably not even a foul when he has an Arsenal shirt on, you know.

38' -- Cesar has to scramble a loose ball away, Sorin misses on a header, and then Cesar is again called into action, as he has to collect a cross.

39' -- Argentina, through Zanetti, are threatening again. Great one-two, but Cesar is off his line brilliantly to save a sure goal.

40'  -- Kleberson goes on a run taking him from his wing into the center, to his other wing, then back into the center. His swerving shot ends up swerving right into Abbondanzieri's arms, unfortunately for him. Great build-up from the young Manchester United player, though.

42' -- Terrible stuff from Mascherano, as his cross-field pass to no one in particular ends up, surprise surprise, going to no one in particular.

44' -- Gustavo Nery's nice interception starts a counter-attack, and Fabiano is fouled. Quite rightly, the referee says it was just outside the area. Dangerous position, though...Alex is over it...

45' -- The kick ends up being headed away, but Kleberson wins a throw. Argentina clears the resulting danger, though.

45' -- Nery wins a foul, as Kleberson has interestingly switched to a central position.

45' -- Alex is over this one too....

45' -- GOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In stoppage time, Brazil comes back from the dead with the equalizer! Alex's set piece is much better this time, and his kick finds the unmarked Luisao...whose looping header finds the top left corner past the flat-footed Abbondanzieri! Excellent, excellent goal, but you have to admit that you didn't see it coming.

45' -- And with that, the referee blows the halftime whistle. Argentina dominated most of the first half, especially after winning a somewhat-lucky penalty. Gonzalez in particular has been excellent for the Gauchos, controlling play offensively as well as playing excellent defense. However, Brazil has all the momentum now, as goals in stoppage time are always a killer. Either way, you have to think that Luisao's equalizer sets up a titanic second half!


46' -- Here we go!

47' -- Half the population of Argentina are warming up on the sideline, it seems.

48' -- Dangerous free kick from around 30 yards or so. Adriano has about a ten-foot run-up, but the wall blocks. Alex gets the ball in central space outside the area, but he sends his shot into orbit.

50' -- Fantastic build-up from Argentina, Rosales' cross is touched on by Zanetti, right into Tevez's path. Unbelievable diving save from Cesar keeps it out, though. That absolutely should have been 2-1 to the guys in blue and white.

52' -- Luis Gonzalez sends a nice ball into the area for Sorin, but three yellow shirts converge on him...Sorin is never winning that battle.

53' -- Cristian Gonzalez with the audacious lob over the Brazilian defense...the pass comes back to him in the area, but he again shamefully keels over at the slighest contact. Kleberson is coming off with some kind of injury.

55' --  Diego is coming on for the injured Kleberson...that's a huge blow for the Brazilians. Corner for Argentina, easily cleared by Adriano.

56' -- Diego gets some early touches in attack, but now Adriano goes down. I'm sorry, but if you're OK enough to scream at the referee, you're probably OK to keep going. Stop crying, little girl...really.

58' -- Tevez makes a run down the left, there's shirt-pulling going on from both sides, but Luisao gets booked when Tevez goes down. Shameful.

59' -- Zanetti's free kick comes in, and it pinballs to Ayala on the left. He lashes the ball across the face of goal, but it eludes everyone. Back in, the cross from the right is tipped by Cesar, as Ayala and Luisao crack heads...Luisao got the worst of that one.

61' -- Brazil wins another free kick in Argentina's half. Alex is over it this time...Gonzalez clears, though.

61' -- Argentina could use some fresh legs, I think.

62' -- Argentina work it down the right, but Rosales gets a defender over his back, and like last time, gets called for the foul. The referee has been pretty good outside of this oddity.

62' -- Zanetti has an excellent chance, but Juan makes a great diving block.

63' -- Felipe comes on for Alex. Interesting choice. Corner for Argentina comes to nothing.

64' -- Cesar Delgado is on for Rosales...this makes more sense than Brazil's last substitution.

64' -- Long shot from Adriano never troubles Abbondanzieri.

65' -- Delgado's first touch is a blazing run down the right (Argentina are just abusing them down that flank so far this half), but his shot sails high and wide.

66' -- Diego pulls down Gonzalez on the left...free kick to the Gauchos.

66' -- Zanetti down the right, now they switch flanks. Tevez does well with hard work in the area, back to Zanetti, who wins a corner. Excellent stuff from Argentina.

67' -- Ayala charges in to meet the corner, and his forceful header screams over the crossbar by mere inches.

68' -- With Kleberson gone, Argentina looks much more likely to break the deadlock first. Then again, Luisao struck after a prolonged period of Argentine domination, so who knows?

68' -- Zanetti is just having his way down the right-hand flank, but his cross into the area is a poor one.

69' -- Gonzalez is hip-checked in the area by Maicon...he had a legitimate shout for a penalty, but I can't see the ref giving Argentina two of them with Brazil not having one yet. Not in a cup final.

70' -- Glorious chance in the area for Brazil, but Adriano's shot was blocked well by Ayala.

72' -- Tevez has space in the center outside the area, but his tame shot never troubles Cesar.

72' -- Diego gets taken down from behind by Mascherano, who is very rightly booked.

74' -- Zanetti really is a special player. It's obvious that he intends to take this match by the throat, in any way possible. Brazil is going to have to get a marker or six on this guy, I believe.

75' -- A brief lull in the precedings in the last few minutes, but this has been mostly frenetic stuff...especially in this half.

75' -- River Plate's Andreas D'Alessandro is on for Gonzalez, who obviously has given everything he has. D'Alessandro's a good player, but how will the youngster handle so big a stage?

76' -- Great ball into the area from Zanetti, but tenacious defending from the men in yellow alleviates the danger from Tevez.

78' -- Maicon and Felipe lead the attack, and several shots get desperately kicked out by defenders. Nery tries a thunderbolt from outside the area, but it wasn't even close. This is the first we've see Brazil seriously threaten Abbondanzieri in ages, though.

79' -- Luisao has to put a high cross out for a corner. D'Alessandro's corner is easily cleared, though.

80' -- But, the Argentines threaten again down the right...until a poor ball from Tevez allows an even poorer clearance from the defense. It's crossed in, and Cesar has to be alert to come off his line to claim it.

81' -- Luisao is coming off. After a bit, he decides to drop to the ground to get stretchered off...my first instinct is to believe that this is a gutless time-wasting trick to try and halt Argentina's momentum. Cris comes on for him.

82' -- Brazil crosses midfield, but Diego passes to no one in particular.

83' -- The referee can't get out of the way, and thus becomes the first man to stop Zanetti off the dribble all day.

84' -- Sorin tries an audacious shot from well outside the area, with about as good of a result as you'd expect.

85' -- Brilliant jumping kick from Fabricio Coloccini to slow a Brazilian attack. Great defense again from Argentina.

86' -- Tevez's cross is easily cliamed by Cesar.

87' -- Fabiano gets chop-blocked in the area, but Heinze made it look close enough to a legitmate tackle to earn a goal kick. Again, if this weren't a tied cup final, it's likely a penalty kick.

88' -- GOOOOL!  Zanetti again has the run of the right flank. His cross is headed on by Sorin, and then Delgado sends a beautiful shot from the right of the area just over the despairing dive of Cesar. What a strike, and you had to see it coming from Argentina's possession and build-up play.

89' -- Heartbreak for Brazil, who don't seem to have the imagination or finishing ability to come back...is there a way back for the Samba Boys?

90 ' -- Zanetti wins a corner...Argentina plays it short, as time ticks on.

91' -- Everyone up for Brazil now. Nery with the free kick, but they can't break into the crowded penalty area.

92' -- Argentina makes their final change, Tevez is off,  Facundo Quiroga is on. Tick, tick, tick...

92' -- High cross in, Abbondanzieri easily takes it.

93' -- Renato with the free kick, Brazil tries to work it in.

93' -- GOOOOOOOOOL!!!!! Unbelievably, Brazil again equalize in stoppage time!!!! A high cross causes confusion in the Argentine central defense...both fullbacks think the other has it, Adriano turns and fires all in one motion, and roofs it in the top left corner past the shocked Abbondanzieri, who started his dive when the ball was already rustling the net!!! Not the world's prettiest goal, but anyone in yellow and green will take it gladly at the moment!

93' -- There's some handbags between the two sides as the referee blows the full-time whistle. I don't think anyone would have believed it just a minute earlier, but the Argentine defense, after frustrating Brazil at every turn in the second half, gave Adriano one chance to keep Brazil's hopes alive. And, the striker made no mistake, finishing with the greatest of ease to send this into extra time. One can only hope that we can find a winner there, and that this wonderful contest doesn't have to be decided on The Worst Way To End A Game Ever, that being penalty kicks.  

ET -- Oh, crap...they're going right to penalty kicks? That is REALLY LAME, just so you know.

PK -- Abbondanzieri and Cesar share the customary good-luck handshake before the penalty kick shootout. There's a certain understanding between guys whose reputations depend on a hell-spawned crapshoot.

PK -- Argentina to shoot first. Carlos Alberto Perreria looks like someone ran over his dog. I think any casual fan feels the same way...I feel robbed that we don't get extra time first.

PK -- Who will take it? I'd love to tell you, but the referees have been conferencing with each other, and now with the keepers. They could have played extra time already with how long this is taking.

PK -- It's D'Alessandro! Odd, odd choice to put someone so young up first...

PK -- SAVE, CESAR!!!!!!! It was a terrible penalty, right in the path of the goalkeeper. The Brazilian netminder guessed right, and that's all he needed to do to save that awful effort!

PK -- Adriano for Brazil...

PK -- GOOOL! Abbondanzieri never did pick a side, opting to try and fake Adriano out. It didn't work, as the Brazil man put it coolly in the right corner.

PK -- Heinze is next...

PK -- HE MISSES! And that was Beckham-esque, as he sends it somewhere in the direction of Pluto!

PK -- Edu can put Brazil in the driver's seat...

PK -- GOOOOL!! The Arsenal man shows his class, sending Abbondanzieri the wrong way and smartly placing it in the left-hand side of the net.

PK -- All the pressure in the world on Gonzalez now...he needs this one..his country needs this one.

PK -- GOOOOOL!! He makes no mistake, putting it in the low corner to Cesar's left.

PK -- The substitute Diego can keep the pressure on Argentina...

PK -- GOOOOOOOL! Abbondanzieri guessed right, but Diego's low shot to the right corner made it exactly into said corner, otherwise, the Boca Juniors man would have saved it.

PK -- Sorin is next...

PK -- GOOOOL!! Cesar dives low, Sorin puts it in the top-center part of the net. That looked like it might go over, but Argentina is still in it!

PK -- Juan is next...execptionally-odd choice, but if it's in, they win....

PK -- GOOOOOLL!! Abbondanzieri guessed the same way as the last penalty, and Juan went the other way. If the Boca man had guessed right, he would have saved it...he won't sleep tonight with that knowledge, I'll bet.  

PK -- So, two late equalizers hand Brazil the Copa America, and once again, the bane of any real fan's existence penalizes the side that dominated the entire contest. Neutrally-speaking, Argentina deserved at least a chance to translate their dominance into at least a chance for a golden goal, rather than this terrible, terrible way to end a game...this proves nothing other than who is better at the one skill that comes up the absolute least amount of times during an actual game. However, fair play to Brazil, they didn't trip and fall over the trophy either. They kept their nerve in the face of an unrelenting hurricane of pressure from the Argentines, and hit two knockout shots to close out each half to put themselves into the shootout in the first place. It's not like Brazil didn't deserve to win the Copa America, but Argentina has a much better argument that they didn't deserve to lose it.


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