On June 26, 2016, at the Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Chile won the Copa America title after the victory against Argentina on penalties. It was the second success in a row for Chile, who repeated last year’s triumph.
Las Rojas, coached by Juan Antonio Pizzi, won the Copa America centenary edition. In the group stage, Chile gathered six points after the victories against Panama (4-2) and Bolivia (2-1) but in the opening game, they lost to Argentina (1-2).
In the quarter-final game, that took place on June 18, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., Chile faced Mexico, who went unbeaten in the group stage. However, Claudio Bravo’s team made it to the semifinals, after an incredible victory (7-0) over Mexico.
In the semifinal match, on June 23, Chile met Colombia, at the Soldier Field Stadium in Chicago, Ill. Pizzi’s crew obtained another victory (2-0), qualifying for the final game. This would be a re-edition of the opening match, against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. So far, the Albicelestes had won every game of this Copa America’s edition.
Despite Argentina’s five victories in a row, Chile won the Copa America title, without interrupting their unbeaten series. After the first 90 minutes of the game the teams were tied. They both had a man eliminated due to a red card, given by the referee, and the score was still 0-0.
In the additional time, nothing changed, so Argentina and Chile prepared for their penalty-kicks. The first to try and score was Arturo Vidal who missed the shot. Afterward, Messi sent the ball over the crossbar. Then, Chile scored four times in a row, while the Argentinian Biglia missed his chance, giving Chile an advantage and, implicitly, the title. It was the second time in a row they have defeated Argentina in the final game of a Copa America edition.
Messi Retired From International Soccer
Although the Albicelestes were considered the favorites to win the Copa America centenary edition, they remained without a trophy in the American competition, since 1993.
Besides the sadness provoked by the loss, Argentina took a hit from Messi. The 29-year-old football player cried and announced, at the end of the final match, that he considered retiring from international soccer.
He mentioned that it looks like the national team is not an auspicious environment for him to prove his skills. “I tried my hardest. […] I want more than anyone to win a title with the national team, but unfortunately, it did not happen.” In his emotional message, Messi added that he is, most certainly, done playing for Argentina’s national team.
Moreover, according to ESPN, more Argentinian players are thinking about retirement. Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherano, Angel Di Maria, and Ezequiel Lavezzi are also considering not playing for their national team anymore.
The next Copa America edition will take place in Brazil, in 2019. It will be the 46th tournament organized by CONMEBOL.
By Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Jeanette Smith
CBC: Chile repeats with penalty-kicks win over Argentina
ESPN FC: Lionel Messi retires from Argentina after Copa America final loss to Chile
Image by Agência Brasil Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License