Chile wins in penalties in a very physical Copa America Centenario Final

For the second straight year, the Copa America Final between Argentina and Chile went scoreless and was taken to penalties. And repeating what happened in last year’s game, Chile once again wins in penalty kicks to defeat Argentina for their second consecutive Copa America win, winning the penalty shootout 4-2.

The first half was defined more on who can sustain the incredibly physical play rather than actually scoring a goal. Even in defending the goal, things got physical. As Gonzalo Higuain got in on goal to miss another inexplicable shot, Gary Medel just about wrapped himself into the post, making sure the shot was out.

With what seemed like the inevitable, Marcelo Diaz got sent off for fouling Messi. I was in agreement with his first yellow card but this was a bit more debatable. I could see either way but given the referee seemed to let a lot of things go, it probably would’ve been more inconsistent for Heber Lopes to make that call.

Either way, the call was made and the ref decided to make up for that by sending off Marcos Rojo with this foul. Definitely worthy of a yellow, maybe not a red and the ref made it 10 v 10 before the end of the first half.

The second half kind of settled down but settling down a game after what happened in the first half was needed if anyone was going to remain in the game. It wound up being 0-0 after regular time and it really took until around the final few minutes of regular time before there were viable opportunities for both teams to score.

The biggest opportunity may have been in the 100th minute as Claudio Bravo made a miraculous save to deny Argentina the lead.

After 120 minutes of scoreless action, the Copa America Centenario would be decided by penalties. The shootout got off to an inauspicous start as Arturo Vidal shot a terrible penalty that was saved by Sergio Romero. Lionel Messi then skied his penalty to make things 0-0 after a round. After two conversions for both teams, Chile’s Jean Beausejour converted for a 3-2 lead. After Lucas Biglia had his shot saved by Bravo, Francisco Silva stepped up and became a hero for his native Chile.

With Chile’s win, this means a second consecutive Copa America victory in consecutive years. The nation that had never won a Copa America now has two titles. As for Argentina, this makes 23 years and counting that they have not won a trophy and three consecutive years where they have lost in the Final of a major tournament. Surely this will raise questions on Lionel Messi’s legacy as a player on his national team that he has lost three consecutive tournaments without even scoring a single goal.

But this night belongs to Chile and they go home with the special 100th anniversary trophy. A team who even though they won last year, didn’t really get the respect they deserved before the tournament as defending champs. They finished 2nd to Argentina in Group D, losing 2-1 to them and getting drawn to Mexico instead of Venezuela. Chile took that opportunity and crushed Mexico 7-0, giving people notice that Chile may have something for everyone. Then after a 2-0 win over Colombia, Chile finished off Argentina when it counted. In the end, Chile may not have been the favorite but they walked out of MetLife Stadium with the trophy and that’s all that matters.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp