Argentina lose second straight final as Chile win Copa America


20150705_022539_2Chile v Argentina (Estadio Nacional, Santiago) Saturday 4 July  (0-0  AET, Chile win 4-1 on penalties)

Chile won their first major trophy in front of a packed stadium in the nation’s capital Santiago after beating Argentina in a penalty shoot-out to win the 2015 Copa America. After a fairly uneventful match including 30 minutes of extra time (all other previous knock-out matches went straight to penalties without extra time) Higuain and Banega from Argentina missed their penalties in quick succession.

Fittingly it then came down to Chile’s star striker Alexis Sanchez to calmly and cheekily score the winning penalty by sending the keeper the wrong way and passing it slowly into the other side of the empty goal. Alexis also sent the local Chilean fans into jubilant celebration, who began ferociously waving their national flags (40,000 flags had been paid for by local Chilean businessman Leonardo Farkas, much to the delight of the Chilean fans in the stadium but much to the annoyance of the local flag sellers outside the stadium!).

The joy of the Chilean fans was in stark contrast to the Argentinean players and their fans who had crossed over the Andes that separate the two countries and who had now witnessed losing two major finals in the past year, having lost the World Cup Final in Brazil to Germany in July 2014.

The Chilean celebrations continued onto the street after the match with many locals hopping into their cars, vans etc. to drive around hanging out of car sunroofs and windows waving flags and sounding off their car horns in celebration. There was a short supply of taxis, however, so after half an hour of trying, yours truly here resorted to plan B and hitched a ride in the back of a small truck (see photo)!

Ordinarily it would be another 4 years before Chile have the opportunity to defend their title but as 2016 mark s the 100-year anniversary of the Copa America (the oldest international trophy in the world) a special North and South American version of the tournament is being staged in USA in June 2016.

There is currently some speculation that this tournament may not go ahead next year due to the current FBI investigations into FIFA in the USA but this did little to stop the advertising of the 2016 Copa America on the advertising boards during the match.

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