Chile clinched the Copa America title by defeating Argentina for the second consecutive time in the penalty shootout. This is the third consecutive final loss to Argentina in as many years which includes the World Cup loss against Germany in 2014. With the immediate effect of the loss, Argentina captain and five time World player of the year Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football.
In a repeat of last year’s final, both teams could not find the back side of the net in the allotted 90 minutes, in spite of few good chances. The story of extra time was also a similar one.
In a repeat of last year’s final, both teams could not find the back side of the net in the allotted 90 minutes, in spite of few good chances. The story of extra time was also a similar one. Chile won the penalty shootout 4-2 as two of the Argentina players missed their chance to score from the spot.
At the time of kick off, high intensity of battle was expected. But the battle diverted away from the football skills. Injuries and controversy were in the limelight for the first 45 minutes.Few players got hurt themselves. Alexis rolled his ankle after 5 minutes from kickoff. Gary Medal had a bad time when he tried clearing Higuin’s chip.
The wild challenge of Marcelo Diaz at 15th on Messi was just the beginning of the harsh challenges that followed after. Diaz again collided with Messi after the latter made a brilliant move with his pace in the 28th minute. Second yellow was controversially raised against Diaz which reduced Chile to 10 men.
The physical destruction continued in the second half too. With one Argentina defender missing the field, Chile started dominating the center field. Except one shot of Vargas to Romero’s hands, the trio of Vargas, Charles and Sanchez did nothing big.
Argentina came live into the game after Martino and Aguero replaced under performing Di Maria and Higuin. Argentina found the rhythm after that. Messi made few master moves, but all ended in frustrations.
In the 84th minute Aguero had a massive chance to net the winner from inside the box. But a weak attempt made the scoreboard remain undisturbed. Injury time had few big chances. But Messi, Anega and Alexis ended up with failures.
The extra time too had some harsh challenges. People even expected Lopes to raise a red by the way the players handled their opponents. In the 99th minute Vargas had another good chance but he shot the ball straight into the hands of the keeper. In the Next minute Bravo wonderfully denied Aguero’s header of Messi’s free kick.
In 110th minute Romero brilliantly cleared Castillo’s shot. 118th minute saw some drama as referee denied the appeal for a penalty after Silva went down inside the box.
Aguero took Chile’s first penalty which Romero saved by diving to the same side of the ball. Messi came as the first man for Argentina. But his shot flew above the cross bar. Castillo, Marcherano, Aranguiz,Aguero and Beausejour scored the next spot kicks respectively.
Bilgia missed the third of Argentina’s chance leaving Chile one goal away from victory. Silva did not make any mistake as he netted the winner for Chile to make them the Copa America champions for the second consecutive time.
Messi was self frustrated after missing the penalty.
Chile started celebrating, but Argentinians were on their knees with heads hanging on disappointment. With immediate effect of the loss Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football. “For men national team is over, I’ve done all I can, it hurts, not to be a champion”, he said.
Sunday’s final gave a new dominating football country from the American continent. It also will be remembered as the last international match of one of the greatest football players of all time.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.