Copa America Final: Chile Stuns Argentina in Penalty Kicks

And there we have it soccer(or football) fans. Chile has won the final of the Copa America Centenario tournament 4-2 on penalty kicks. This is Chile’s second straight Copa America win after going 99 years without the title. Everyone who is paying attention to the tournament figured that this was Argentina’s. Argentina has now been in three straight major tournament finals. All three of which have gone to extra time. The game went 0-0 through 120 minutes with a majority of those minutes spent arguing with the refs, players on the ground and pushing shoving.

Chile Wins Penalty Shootout over Argentina in Copa America Final

It was a very physical game in every sense of the word. Referee Heber Lopes, who is known to be very loose with the yellow and red cards, dished out ten in total. Eight of them were yellow cards and two of them reds to Argentina’s Marcos Rojo and Chile’s Marcelo Diaz. Twitter blew up accusing the ref of making the game his own. It’s just how the game went. Lopes is known to be strict on the field and is no nonsense. A total of 36 fouls were called today with 22 going towards Chile and 14 going toward Argentina.

In terms of shots, Argentina outshot Chile by a big margin. But both teams had the same amount of shots on goal. Argentina shot the ball 15 times with Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero leading the game with three shots each. Chile shot the ball only three times. Chile by the looks of it sat back more after Marcelo Diaz was sent off. In basic soccer terms when you sit back, you sacrifice opportunities.

Not to say they didn’t have many. They had quite a few chances, but being caught offsides five times squandered those chances quickly. Argentina was never called offsides. Forward Gonzalo Higuain pounced on a Gary Medel mistake and took it 40 yards, only to see his chip over Chile GK Claudio Bravo go just left of the net. Bravo had himself a game though. In the second half of extra time, a header off a free kick looked like it was headed for the back of the net. Bravo made a heroic save to keep the score at 0-0.

This is the second year in a row in which Argentina and Chile went to penalty kicks in the final after a scoreless 120 minutes. Chile went first and sent out midfielder Arturo Vidal. He sent the shot right where Argentina’s goalkeeper Sergio Romero met it and knocked it out. Messi subsequently stepped up for Argentina. Messi has never missed a shot in a penalty kick until tonight. He sent his Barcelona teammate Claudio Bravo the wrong way but that didn’t matter as he sent the shot over the bar. It seemed as if the entire stadium went into shock.

Chile then sent out Nicolas Castillo who nailed his penalty. Argentina’s Javier Mascherano stepped up next and scored. Then Chile’s Charles Aránguiz buried his kick. Sergio Aguero then went out and put his ball just beyond the reach of Bravo. The score at that point was 2-2. Chile veteran Jean Beausejour stepped up and converted his penalty to make it 3-2. Argentinas Lucas Biglia looked pretty nervous walking up and the result showed. Bravo stuffed Biglia’s penalty which gave the winning kick to Chile’s Francisco Silva. Silva converted the penalty to give Chile back the crown.

As for Messi, he still has yet to win his first major tournament title in an Argentina kit. The arguably the best player in the world has yet to win bring back a trophy for the senior team. But what fans seem to forget is that Messi is only 29 years old. He still has quite a few Copa Americas and World Cups to play. Even Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo has still yet to bring home a major tournament victory to his home country. Sure not winning a title puts an asterisk next to his international career, but us fans should not be to quick to hop on Messi. He still has a couple more years.

Here are the awards given out at the end of the game:

Golden Boot: Chile- Eduardo Vargas
Golden Glove: Chile- Claudio Bravo
Fair Play: Argentina- Sergio Romero
Golden Ball: Chile- Alexis Sanchez

This has been Last Word On Sports’ coverage of the Copa America Centenario tournament. Don’t forget to check out our MLS coverage throughout the season.