MetLife Stadium was the scene of the historic 2016 Copa America Centenario final, and it was a perfect setting for this rematch.
Chile and Argentina squared off against each other, just like it happened a year
Argentina appeared to be in control of the game right from kickoff.
Chile couldn’t find a way to stop Argentina and they were forced to commit several fouls. As a result, Marcelo Diaz was sent off due to consecutive yellow cards before the 30th minute.
The referee, Heber Lopes, deserves a long lamentation based on how he performed.
The game went on, and neither team could gain and edge.
In one word, the second 45 minutes could be defined as nerve-racking. Chile had the clearer chances with a shot from Eduardo Vargas from inside the box that went wide pretty early, but that was all they could muster. Argentina, on the other hand, lost a lot of firepower when Angel di Maria left the pitch in the 57th minute, and the scoring opportunities were scarce for both teams.
The defending Copa America champions had their best chance with a shot from Eduardo Vargas and a few crosses into the box, but Sergio Romero was pretty sharp every time he was needed.
Neither team was able to leap over the other, though, so the match went into extra time. The first half of ET was as intense as it gets, and both teams had clear chances to score. Chile nearly recorded the first score of the match with a Vargas header from close range.
But Argentina answered pretty quickly with another header that Bravo tipped away as it was sneaking into the top right corner.
Bravo's spectacular save was easily dubbed as the save of the tournament, even better than the one Colombia's David Ospina made last night against the United States.
The two headers, however, weren't a trend that repeated throughout the rest of the extra time. Both sides looked awfully tired, and it became a chess match between both managers. Both teams avoided unnecessary risks, so ultimately everything was decided on penalties.
And Lionel Messi will be wishing he had this one back.
That was the first time he ever missed a penalty kick.
Chile had all the odds against them, but they came up big when it mattered the most. Even though Vidal missed the first PK, Messi did the same thing, which clearly demoralized Argentina.
Nicolas Castillo, Charles Aranguiz, Jean Beausejour and Francisco Silva all converted from the spot, and coupled with the miss from Lucas Biglia, Chile won the Copa America just like last year.
It was a tight match, but Chile performed when it mattered the most. It was an unbelievable finish to an unbelievable tournament that included a 7-0 win against Mexico, and a dominant performance on crunch time against one of the best teams in the world.
Argentina will have to wait at least two more years to end their title drought that dates back to the 1993 Copa America.
Congratulations on the well-deserved victory, Chile.