Brazil vs. Argentina: Players Who Will Continue to Shine in International Play
For all of the talent that Brazil's and Argentina's national teams are stacked with, there were a few players who even managed to play out of their own leagues in Wednesday's international friendly.
Brazil took down Argentina 2-1 in the latest chapter in the epic rivalry between these two powerhouses, and in typical dramatic fashion, it came down to a last-second penalty kick.
Here's a look at those who came up biggest on Wednesday and who will continue to get the job done in international play.
Juan Manuel Martinez
There would have been no thrilling finish at all if it hadn't been for Martinez, who tallied the first goal of the game, putting Argentina ahead and giving the club an opportunity to hang in there until the very end.
He may have stayed quiet for the remainder of the night after the early goal, but he did exactly what he was supposed to do: He came out aggressive, he put Brazil in a hole and he gave his side a prime opportunity to snag the win. Sometimes, putting your team in a good spot doesn't come down to doing everything—but it does come down to doing enough to give your side a chance.
It may not have worked out for Argentina on Wednesday night, but Martinez continues to establish himself as a threat for Argentina, and if he keeps coming up big against his side's biggest rivals, it will pay off. He can't do everything himself, but he did just enough; now it's time for someone else to step up and help.
Of course, the fact that he came up with the last-second game-winner on a penalty kick makes him the most important of all. It may have been just an exhibition matchup, but never is there a better time to score the game-winning goal than when you're up against your most hated, most vicious rivals.
Neymar took full advantage of Leandro Desabato's handball, giving Brazil the upper hand in the first of two international friendlies with Argentina. We already knew he was the star of the show, but now that he's proven once again he can come to play in the biggest of pressure situations, he's upped his profile even more.
No, he's obviously not a player—but one of the biggest storylines surrounding Brazil as it entered this exhibition matchup was the ire being directed at the Brazil boss in the wake of his team's disappointing performance this summer.
Brazil suffered an upset loss to Mexico at the Olympics, failing to bring home that elusive gold medal and amplifying the pressure on Menezes to prove that this club isn't going to continue to flop under his watch. This win may not count for much officially on Brazil's record, but it was a statement. Menezes showed the disgruntled Brazilian fan base that he knows how to get the best out of his players, who will fight until the last second, literally.
After the match, Menezes told the Buenos Aires Herald:
The fans have their preferences but my job is to try to make the national team improve and it did and that's how we got a victory in the end.
Regaining the faith of the fan base is a process that takes time in the wake of a loss like the one Brazil experienced this summer, but this was an encouraging first step for the manager.
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