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Chile tops Argentina in PKs again to win second straight Copa America crown

Photo by Brad Penner/USA Today Sports
Photo by Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — For the second straight year, Chile and Argentina could not be separated through 120 minutes and, for the second straight year, Lionel Messi and co. saw their trophy hopes dashed in a penalty shootout.

Chile defeated Argentina, 4-2, in penalty kicks after a scoreless 120 minutes in Sunday’s Copa America Centenario final at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night. The win gives Chile a second straight Copa America title after winning the 2015 edition of the competition, while leaving Argentina with a defeat in a tournament final for the third straight year.

Arturo Vidal was charged with taking the first penalty kick, but was undone by a diving Sergio Romero. Messi stepped up next, but skied his shot over the crossbar, leaving both sides scoreless through one round.

After exchanging a pair of converted chances and then taking a lead, Chile took the advantage in the fourth round when Lucas Biglia had his penalty kick saved by Claudio Bravo. With a chance to win the game, Francisco Silva buried his spot kick, sending Chile and portions of the record 82,026 fans into a frenzy.

Chile nearly struck in extra time, but was undone by a Romero save. After a miscue from the Argentina backline, Edson Puch lofted a pass to a wide open Eduardo Vargas, whose shot was collected by Romero.

Just one minute later, Argentina saw a set piece saved miraculously by Bravo.

The first half of regulation was defined by physicality, and the ensuing refereeing decisions from Brazilian Heber Lopes that left each team down a man.

Chile was the first side to see a player dismissed, as Marcelo Diaz received his marching orders for his second yellow card. After taking down Messi just moments before, Diaz toppled the Argentine star again in the 29th minute to get sent to the locker room for an early shower.

Just two minutes before halftime, play was leveled as Argentina were reduced to 10 players as well. After seeing Vidal hacked down just outside the box, Lopes issued a straight red to Marcus Rojo for the foul, which resulted in a wide open second half.

The best chance of the opening 45 minutes went to Gonzalo Higuain, who was given a chance to exorcize demons of finals past after missing good chances in both the championship games of the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America. Alone on goal after pouncing on a poor touch from Gary Medel, Higuain hit a chip over Bravo that trickled just wide of the far post.

The second half saw both sides slow down a bit, as the wear and tear of 10-on-10 soccer dropped the intensity level slightly. Chile enjoyed a majority of the possession and the attacking play, and Vargas forced a save out of Romero in the 79th minute in Chile’s premier chance.

Just moments after Vargas’ chance, Sergio Aguero appeared destined for a title-winning moment, but fired his 85th-minute attempt off the frame.

Argentina was left to rue that miss, Messi’s failed penalty kick, and the multiple other chances it had as the South American powerhouse remains without a major title since 1993. Chile, meanwhile, now remains Copa America champion until at least 2019.


  1. This could have gone either way but penalties take nerve and messi got unnerved and skied his which is worse than Vidal not hitting the deep corner and getting his shot blocked.

    Some great play in many moments but Messi bated the ref more than a few times and only got one yellow card. Diaz second yellow was a load of sh call. But then came what sure seemed like a make up call. This game had some drama. So pumped Chile won.

  2. We definitely did not win over any new soccer fans with this game. Please meet Mr. Messi, the best soccer player in the world. And he can’t hit the goal.

  3. On a free kick from almost the same spot as vs. the US, Messi kicks it right to the keeper. Higuan goes one on one with the GK and doesn’t even get his shot on frame, and Aguero has an open shot from about 15 yards and hits it into row m. Why didn’t they play that badly when we played them? I think the pressure got to Messi, He had a pretty poor game, trying to do too much, forcing the ball and then shockingly missing the PK.

    • Chile’s midfield punished Argentina and that was the difference. Sounds funny. It didn’t come down to skill. It came down to toughness. US midfield didn’t foul Messi every time he touched the ball like they should have. That should have been Michael Bradley’s job, but he’s too soft. That’s what Klinsmann was talking about when he said the US respected them too much. He wanted the US to punish them. Missing Jones killed the US. Absolutely no toughness after him.

      • you are right.. same in europe, nobody touches messi they let him play!! i never understood that! thats why messi never shines as much in south america , cause they really beat the s out of him… last year medel in the final kicked him in the stomach and that was it for messi

      • Well part of the reason why Messi gets lots space and time on the ball is because the refs treat him like a bubble child and usually call fouls in his favor just like that red card that Chile got, that should have not been a red card… the Chilean player had just as much right to that spot then Messi did… but messi can pretty much steamroll over anybody and still get the call in his favor

    • in the first 10-15 minutes or so, Vargas, Alexis and Aranguiz all got stepped on hard, fouled hard, but by different guys. they spread out the fouling, both teams. early and throughout the first half. early on my son said it was going to be an ugly first half, and it was. just like you said, toughness was the deal although I thought both sides showed grit. Messi and Vidal had some excellent battles going on in the middle throughout the game. it was a battle
      second half was more open but Argentina’s pressure defense could not force the mistake to get them the pay off goal.

  4. Chile wins it. Please note to all here, they did not do it by playing possession soccer out of the back. No, they played long ball out of the back, made it a game of second balls in the midfield, because the Argentina pressure dictated that tack


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