Copa American 2015: Chile vs. Argentina
It was definitely a Chilean affair. Chile held on for dear life throughout the entire competition right until the final match against Argentina. They were probably the least expected country to win the cup, especially since Argentina had always been favourites to lift the trophy. But Chile “made history by winning their first major trophy in their history on home soil courtesy of a penalty shootout win over the Argentines in the Copa America final.” (as quoted by BBC)
Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal fame calmly slotted in the winning spot-kick and match-deciding title after Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain fired over the goalpost and Ever Banega’s effort was denied by Claudio Bravo. Argentina had been the favourites to win the trophy but was a shadow of their former self in the final game compared to the heights they reached in their “6-1 semi-final victory over Paraguay.”
Chile’s victory over Argentina brought an end to almost a century of competing in the Copa America without claiming a title. They were one of four teams who played in the very first tournament in 1916 in Argentina but the best they had done until this year was runner-up, which they have achieved on four occasions (1955, 1956, 1979 and 1987).
The Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos erupted in cheers when their team won the penalty shootout. The players may not have had the tactical class and playing style but they were driven and disciplined, and ultimately composure that was epitomised by the ever-industrious and superbly energetic Sanchez and Charles Aranguiz.
I am so glad that Arsene Wenger brought the Chilean Sanchez to the Emirates Stadium. He’s been nothing but a nuisance to the Gunners’ rival teams in the Barclay’s Premier League, and I hope he continues to be that same nuisance that won the Gunners third place in the League and the FA Cup 2015 trophy.