For Lionel Messi & Co. , it was once again heartbreak on the international stage. 12 Months after their narrow defeat at the hands of Germany at the World Cup final, history repeated itself. This time, it was neighbours Chile, roared on by their passionate home support that denied them the trophy. Argentina were looking for their first major international trophy for 22 years, but this drought was nothing compared to Chile, who who looking to win their first ever honour.
Chile may have had the home support, and the likes of Alexis Sanchez & Arturo Vidal to help them go for gold, but it was Argentina who were seen as the favourites. After the near miss last Summer, surely a team containing the likes Messi, Aguero, Di Maria & Mascherano would have to come good eventually? The 6-1 destruction of Peru in the semi final made them the team on form going into the final.
The final itself was a tight affair as you would expect, with huge pressure on both teams to end their respective barren runs. Both teams created chances, but nothing clear cut. If anything, the best chance fell to Higuain, who missed the target from a narrow angle after a Lavezzi cross in the dying embers of Injury Time. The night would not get any better for the Napoli front man.
The game looked like it would be decided by spot kicks, and that’s how it went. No goals after 120 minutes meant that we were going to decide the champions of South America from 12 yards. A shoot out is intense enough, without the added pressure of a final, and it was Argentina who blinked first. Misses from Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega gave the hosts the chance to win it, and it was of course the captain, Alexis Sanchez who stepped up. If there was any pressure, it didn’t show, as he calmly chipped the ball into the net, and sending the entire nation into pandemonium.
So it’s Chile, who finally win a major trophy, and the draught continues for Argentina. But they won’t have to wait too long for another shot at glory, the Copa America Centenario is due to take place in the USA next summer to celebrate 100 years of the competition.