Chile have won their first ever Copa America trophy on home soil thanks to a 4-1 win on penalties over favourites Argentina. After a 0-0 draw A.E.T, a ‘panenka’ from Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez sealed the shoot-out victory.
Chile dominated from the go, an Arturo Vidal effort from inside the box forced a good save from Sergio Romero only 10 minutes into the game. Argentina had chances too with Sergio Aguero’s header from close range parred away being the closest either side had come up to that point.
Shortly after, Vargas blazed over the bar under pressure from Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo. Angel Di Maria had to be replaced by Ezequiel Lavezzi after an injury on the half hour mark and just before half time the substitute could have opened the scoring if it wasn’t for another Claudio Bravo save.
Chile again put their authority on the game from the second half, not allowing Argentina any space, but often came up against a solid wall in Javier Mascherano and company when enjoying large spells of possession. Sanchez was just whiskers away from breaking the deadlock with a volley from a perfectly timed through ball that went just wide of the far post.
With seconds of injury time remaining, Argentina broke through Messi, who played in Lavezzi to cross to Higuain but he couldn’t steer in the ball from a yard out; albeit from a tight angle.
Extra time saw Sanchez again having the chance to open the scoring but could only direct it over the bar. With cramps turning up all over the pitch, the sides settled for penalties.
Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega both missed from the spot after Messi scored for Argentina and Matias Fernandez, Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and a cool Alexis Sanchez all converted for the Chileans to make history.
Success for Chile means that for the second time Argentina fall at the big stage in just under a year. The ghost of last year’s World Cup loss to Germany seemingly loomed large in their dressing room. Argentina, who haven’t won the Copa America since 1992, have now lost three of the last four finals. Messi still waits to see international glory.
This is the first time in eight attempts Chile have beaten Argentina and it was certainly well deserved.
Chile: Bravo, Isla, Medel (booked), Silva (booked), Beausejour, Aranguiz, Diaz, Vidal, Valdivia (Fernandez), Sanchez, Vargas
Argentina: Romero, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Otamendi, Rojo (booked), Biglia, Mascherano (booked), Pastore(Banega), Messi, Aguero (Higuain), Di Maria (Lavezzi)