Chile have defeated Argentina to claim the Copa America, beating their perennially unlucky opponents 4-1 on penalties after the game ended 0-0. The final marks the third time in the last four tournaments that Argentina have made it all the way, only to have defeat thrust upon them.
Chile’s forward, Alexis Sanchez, scored the winning penalty, following his teammates Fernandez, Vidal, and Aranguiz. As ESPN notes, the shootout was extremely disappointing for Argentina, with Lionel Messi being the sole Argentinian player to hit the mark, striking a mournful end to yet another Argentinian defeat at the Copa America.
Despite ending with a goalless draw, the match was a close-run thing, with many chances for both teams being denied or wasted, over and over again. Argentina got stuck in early, with Sergio Aguero taking a through ball from Messi, which, sadly for them, didn’t come to anything, causing Claudio Bravo no trouble, the Guardian reported. Chile’s first chance came in the 11th minute, according to ESPN with Vidal meeting a cross with a great volley, but Romero was having none of it.
Following another chance from the Aguero-Messi partnership, Angel Di Maria went down injured in the 26th minute, being subbed off three minutes later, replaced by Ezequiel Lavezzi.
The first half also saw a deep low point off-pitch, with an alleged attack by Chile fans on Messi’s family, Goal.com reported. The family were reportedly insulted, and his brother, Rodrigo, struck during the incident.
The first half ended with a nailbiting moment for Chile supporters, with Lavezzi being offered a fantastic chance. They were relieved seconds later when he practically gave the ball to Bravo.
With the Copa America still either team’s, the second half began. Seconds after the whistle blew, Chile’s Vidal nearly made it 1-0 with a header from a cross by Sanchez, BBC Sport reported. This was followed by another Chile offensive, with Valdivia fouling up an attempt in the 51st minute. Following a back-and-forth second half, it was time for Argentina to yet again make Chilean fans sweat, with Gonzalo Higuain just missing in the final seconds.
The nail-biting tension continued in extra time, with Chile dominating in attempts on goal, only to consistently fail to score. It was then time for what every football fan dreads, the penalty shootout. That supreme tension you can cut with a knife, which only happens when you know that there is no middle-ground for your team. You’ll either be exuberant or shocked into sadness. This time, it was Chile’s time to shine, and in just over five minutes, they tasted Copa America victory for the first time. Chilean David, ranked no. 19 in the world, had defeated the no. 3 Goliath of Argentina.
Despite the tension, the BBC stats revealed that Chile had dominated the game, holding 57 percent of possession and making 18 shots to Argentina’s eight.
Goal.com journalist Ben Hayward described the atmosphere following the winning penalty as “amazing.”
— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) July 4, 2015
That’s a wrap for Copa America 2015. Next time, will 14-time winners Argentina be vindicated, or could this be the start of a streak for Chile?
[Photo by Jorge Aravena via Creative Commons]