Chile claim Copa America over Argentina in penalties

Published Sunday, July 5, 2015 6:08 AM by William Montero

Let's just say this game was not worthy of a Copa America Final.  Chile v Argentina should produce goals.  Both these teams have attacking talent to spare.  Yet what we got was a real yawner.  Chile resorted to hacking away at Argentina's superstar Lionel Messi.  Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli changed his lineup to deal with Messi.  He removed a defender and threw in another midfielder to bog things down.  The tactic worked as Messi found himself on the ground repeatedly.  It made for a choppy, contentious match.

Sampaoli said after the match "The idea was to stop the best player in the world," he said. "To do that, we had to control the game, dominate the midfield, press high and make the pitch big with our movement. We did that. Had we failed, Messi would have hurt us."

In the end, Chile would claim their first ever Copa America title after 37 attempts over 99 years.  Sure they were rewarded with some obvious "home cooking" yhroughout the tournament benefitting drastically from some well timed red cards and referee calls, but Chile were good throughout the tournament.  

The Argentina offense that played poor Paraguay off the field in the semifinals.  The team that notched six goals would not manage even a single goal over two hours in the final.  Truthfully, most of the action took place in the opening 45 minutes as the game started at a frantic pace.  Both sides left good chances begging and somehow the game went to the break scoreless.  Things quieted from there and the second half was noticably less eventful.  The visitors really should have won it late in injury time as Lionel Messi raced into the penalty area before sliding a pass to the back post.  Gonzalo Higuain looked to finish into the empty net, but he was unable to direct it home.

Neither side would find the winner in overtime and penalties would be needed.  Chile drew off the home crowd as Argentina wilted.  For Argentina Lionel Messi was the only player to convert while Chile ran out easy 4-1 winners in the shootout.  As Alexis Sanchez rolled home the winner Chile had the Copa America title on home soil.