Everton wins Copa America, and other soccer news

No, Everton, the football club, didn’t win the South American championship this weekend. Instead, it edged a Kenyan team on penalty kicks in its opening pre-season match.

However, Everton, the soccer player, scored a goal and assisted on another as Brazil defeated Peru 3-1 to win Copa America. Everton was named outstanding player of the match and finished the tournament as its co-leading goal scorer.

Everton probably will never play for Everton — not after performances like those at Copa America. However, one of his Brazil teammates — Richarlison — already plays for us. And he scored a goal against Peru in the Final. I’m pretty sure Everton has never before had a player score for Brazil in a major international competition.

I also like the fact that a Brazilian soccer star goes by “Everton.” You aren’t likely to find a male star named Chelsea (that’s for traitors) or Liverpool.

Reportedly, we’re also bidding for another Brazilian star, Malcolm. He wasn’t at Copa America, but has played for Brazilian national youth teams and been picked for a few senior Brazil squads. He’s currently with Barcelona, which isn’t chopped liver either.

Brazil hadn’t won Copa America since 2007. It hasn’t won the World Cup since 2002. The Copa dry spell is the more pronounced of the two because that tournament is played every two years, not every four.

I hope this triumph means that Brazil is all the way back as a football power. World football is better when Brazil is flying.

But Copa America was held in Brazil this year, so even a less than flying Brazilian squad would be expected to win the tournament. Lionel Messi, Argentina’s superstar and one of world soccer’s all-time greats, complained that the tourney was rigged so Brazil would win. Messi was sent off by the referee in Argentina’s semi-final loss to Brazil.

Brazil may have gotten some “home cooking,” but I doubt the tournament was rigged. Ironically, the closest to a rigged big-time international tournament I’ve ever seen was Argentina’s triumph in the 1978 World Cup — the last hurrah for that nation’s dictators.

In other soccer news, Mexico defeated the United States 1-0 in the final of the Gold Cup — North America’s championship tournament. The result was a disappointment, but at least the U.S. blew past all other North American opposition it faced — a marked contrast to its last World Cup qualifying campaigning.

The U.S.-Mexico match was played in Chicago. However, the crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Mexico, and the U.S. team was greeted by much booing. For the U.S. team, this wasn’t as bad as playing in Mexico City, but it was nothing like one would hope for playing in America. But it was entirely to be expected, including the booing by Mexicans living here.

In other soccer news, the U.S. women won the female version of the World Cup. Megan Rapinoe, the team’s obnoxious star, complained that the final was held the same day as the Gold Cup and Copa America finals, even though the women’s game was played first and the U.S.-Mexico match wasn’t played until many hours later.

For the likes of Rapinoe, it’s always something.

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