BREAKING: Chile win first ever Copa America

Chile won the first Copa America in their history, beating Argentina 4-1 on penalties on home soil in Santiago.

 

Chile ended their 99-year wait for a Copa America title by beating Argentina 4-1 on penalties to win the tournament on home soil in Santiago.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side denied Lionel Messi his first international honour by edging out La Albiceleste in the shootout, having dominated much of the contest in regular and extra time despite creating much in the way of goalscoring opportunities.

However, Gonzalo Higuain passed up a golden chance to claim victory for Argentina in stoppage time after 90 minutes – sending a tame shot from a tight angle into the side netting with the goal gaping.

And the Napoli forward proved the villain in extra-time too, blazing Argentina’s second kick high over the bar to give Chile the advantage – which La Roja, having finally earned it, never relinquished,.

Ever Banega also missed in the shootout, with Messi the only Albiceleste player to find the net in penalties. Chile’s spot kicks were flawless, and Alexis Sanchez delivered the decisive blow, clipping the ball coolly down the centre to spark wild celebrations in the host nation.

CHILE COPA AMERICA 2015

KEY EVENTS

15’ BIG SAVE FROM ROMERO! A cross from Sanchez is blocked and spun high into the air. Vidal is back-tracking, but he manages to get the volley on target, and the keeper has to make the diving save.

21’ BRILLIANT SAVE BY BRAVO! Messi’s freekick from the right side is flicked on at the near post, and is instinctively saved by the Chilean goalkeeper. It was Aguero who made the header.

47’ GREAT CHANCE FOR LAVEZZI! Pastore cuts back at the byline and squares the pass for his PSG teammate. However, he can only send his shot straight at Bravo, who beats the effort clear.

84’ SO CLOSE TO A CHILE STUNNER! Sanchez makes the run in behind the Argentine defence to take the shot on the volley, and the Arsenal man puts his shot just past the far post.

92’ OH MY WORD! SO CLOSE! That was the chance to win it. Messi hits on the counter attack, passes to Lavezzi who slides a pass to Higuain at the back post. But he could only find the side netting!

105’ MASCHERANO MISTAKE! A long ball into the opposition half is missed completely by the Argentina midfielder, with Sanchez racing on to it. But the Arsenal man can only blast over the bar under pressure from Zabaleta.

PENALTY SCORED! Chile 1-0 Argentina – Fernandez steps up to the spot and fires an emphatic spot kick high into the net. Wow!

PENALTY MISSED! Chile 2-1 Argentina – it’s miles over the bar! Higuain put his foot through it, and he’s put it into orbit. Ugly, ugly, ugly!

PENALTY SAVED! Chile 3-1 Argentina – Banega has his spot kick saved by Bravo! That was a poor penalty kick and Chile are one goal away.

PENALTY SCORED! Chile 4-1 Argentina – Sanchez seals it with a cheeky panenka spot kick! Chile have won the Copa America.

KEY STATS

Alexis Sanchez became the second player to take a Paneka penalty in a shootout in the Copa America, after Sebastian Abreu in semi-finals of the 2007 tournament against Brazil.

Before tonight, Tata Martino had won six out of eight penalty shootouts as a manager.

TALKING POINT – Is Lionel Messi destined to forever miss out with Argentina?

At club level, the past year has been a glorious one for Messi. He has won La Liga, Copa Del Rey and the Champions League with Barcelona – but for Argentina he has endured a lot of pain. La Albiceleste have now lost the World Cup final and the Copa America final over the last 12 months, with Messi falling short of the international honour that in many peoples’ eyes would bring him on par with Diego Maradona. Is he destined to forever miss out on that accolade?

MAN OF THE MATCH – Arturo Vidal

At his best, the Juventus midfielder is a force of nature – and he was somewhere near that level against Argentina. Vidal came into his own when Argentina started to tire late on in the game, and into extra-time – pushing higher up the pitch to press the opposition into mistakes, and to carry a goal threat. If Real Madrid are indeed interested in him – as has been reported this week – then this performance will have done nothing to put them off.

PLAYER RATINGS

Chile – Bravo 7, Isla 7, Silva 7, Medel 8, Beausejour 5, Diaz 6, Aranguiz 7, Vidal 9, Valdivia 5, Vargas 5, Alexis 7. Subs – Fernandez 6, Henriquez 5.

Argentina – Romero 7, Zabaleta 6, Demichelis 6, Otamendi 6, Rojo 5, Mascherano 8, Pastore 7, Biglia 6, Messi 5, Di Maria 5, Aguero 6. Subs – Higuain 4, Banega 5, Lavezzi 5.