Chile won their first Copa América in their history after a putting in determined performance during the game before drubbing Argentina 4-1 in the penalty shoot out, Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez scoring the winner.
Chile started the game brightly taking the game wide and pressing forward repeatedly. Despite this Argentina had the best chances in the early going with both Aguero and Di Maria having opportunities to open the scoring in the first half.
After Di Maria was forced to leave the field injured in the 29th minute Argentina continued attacking while Chile defended brilliantly, Lavezzi having the best chance to get an opener as the first half expired.
Chile played hard though and kept Argentina from building up their rhythm, much to the displeasure of their coach and bench, but the tactic worked well and prevented Messi from having the decisive impact the visitors were hoping for.
While Argentina were defensively sound they lacked verve and fluency when moving forward and as the game progressed Chile kept taking their chances, Sánchez almost scoring when his volley flew across the face of the goal.
Even so, it was Argentina that were to have the last chance of the normal time, Messi playing in Lavezzi. His cross was too far in front of Higuaín however and he could only push the ball into the side netting
The game remained close in extra time and, when neither team could break the impasse, headed into penalties.
Messi scored Argentina’s first, but misses from Higuaín and Banega left Sánchez with the chance to create history. Despite fluffing a Panenka his effort was just enough as Romero dived to the left setting off scenes of jubilant celebration.
Chile have been participants in the Copa América since it began 99 years ago and the scenes in the Estadio Nacional in Santiago after the win showed how much this meant both to the players and fans. Argentina, meanwhile, will have to wait until next year’s centenary before they get another chance to end a trophy drought that has lasted 22 years.
Don’t forgot that South American World Cup qualifiers begin in October. The games will be on beIN Sports and we’ll have all of them live on our Big Screens!