Category Archives: Copa America Centenario

Chile repeats cruel feat to deny Messi international trophy

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Copa America Centenario Final

Argentina vs Chile 0-0

(Chile wins 4-2 on penalties)

As Francisco Silva slots in the final penalty, Chile players erupt in jubilance as they celebrates their second ever pan-America title in just as many years in an almost identical repeat of last year’s Copa America final.

The game went goalless after 120 minutes, along with two-red cards to either side. It was almost a complete replay of last year’s Copa final which Chile also won on penalties, and traumatisingly cruel for Argentina, who will now go 23 years without a major trophy.

On the bench sat their shell-shocked superstar Lionel Messi, who blew his team’s first penalty attempt way over the bar. With his latest final defeat, five-time Ballon D’or winner is denied an international trophy once more after coming just fingertips away for three years running.

The Barcelona forward had been collecting goals and records ahead of the final in MetLife Stadium, but will now throw in the towel for his national team.

“For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion,” the 29-year-old said. “It’s been four finals, it’s not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over.”

It is also fair to say that the disappointments piles as Argentina had made their hopeful way through the knockout stages of the tournament with victories boasting huge margins against their opposing teams, and with Messi performing well if assists as well as goals.

Earlier, he broke Argentina’s goalscoring record by getting his 55th goal in the match against USA, exceeding Gabriel’s Batistuta’s record of 54. Even that goal was something to marvel at.

And any bookmaker would place the odds against Chile, who lost 2-1 to Argentina in the group stages. Indeed, the La Roja players looked ragged, tired and ripe for the taking during the final 10 minutes of extra time, but they proved to have the mettle to withstand any Argentinian offense when it mattered.

With that, having already been crowned champions of South America last year, they now claim their rightful spot as the best national side in the Americas.

 

Agentina and Chile to meet for Copa America final rematch

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A pitch invader entered the field in Argentina’s match to pay his respects to Lionel Messi.

Argentina and Chile both enjoyed solid victories over their respective semi-final opponents to set up a Copa America final rematch.

Argentina 4-0 USA (Lavezzi, Messi, Higuain 2)

Lionel Messi scored a dazzling free-kick from 25-yards to anoint himself as his country’s top goalscorer and added two assists as Argentina utterly outclassed the host nation.

“I am happy to have surpassed Batistuta’s record and I want to thank my team-mates, it’s theirs as well,” Messi said after the match.

Ezequiel Lavezzi opened the scoring early as he was found free by Messi with a chip, which he heads over Brad Guzan. After Messi added to Argentina’s tally with his free-kick, Higuain scored his first after the break.

The Napoli striker ran behind to receive a cross but Guzan saved the shot, only for HIguain to pounce on the rebound to score. Guzan was once again powerless to stop Argentina as Messi pounced on a defensive blunder to provide Higuain with an easy finish.

But there are fears for Argentina’s chances as Ezequiel Lavezzi, Augusto Fernández and Marcos Rojo all sustained injuries in the match. Lavezzi had a freak accident, fracturing his left elbow after tumbling over an advertising board, while Fernández has a hamstring injury and Rojo a thigh strain.

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Chile 2-0 Colombia (Aranguiz, Fuenzalida)

Two early goals are enough to see Chile through to the Copa America Centenario final after the match was delayed for more than two hours after the break.

The second half of the match was postponed for two hours as an electrical storm blew through Soldier Field, Chicago. The game did not finish until after 11.15pm local time, but Chile had already completed their work early on.

Charles Aranguiz converted a rebound past Arsenal’s David Ospina for Chile’s first goal in just seven minutes after play started. It was followed by Jose Pedro Fuenzalida strike four minutes later.

With the defeat, the Colombians will play against USA in the third-place playoff round, while Chile will look to retaining their title which they won last year by penalties.

Argentina trumps Venezuela to meet USA in semi-final

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Copa America Centenario quarter-finals

Argentina 4 – 1 Venezuela

Argentina will meet USA in the semi-finals as La Albiceleste beats Venezuela by 4 to 1.

Lionel Messi, who scored one goal and created two others in his first start of the tournament, equals the goal record set by Gabriel Batistuta. He also became the leading scorer with his fourth goal for Argentina in this event.

Finding Gonzalo Higuain with a long pass, the Napoli striker was able to make a clinical finish and Argentina is 1-0 up early.

Higuain scored again in the 28th to make it 2-0, exploiting a mistake by Venezuela midfielder Arquimedes Figuera and sidestepping Dani Hernandez before slotting home.

But despite all that, Venezuela did play well. Salomon Rondon slightly misses the mark with a header. Then their true pain in the game came as Argentina keeper Sergio Romero tripped Josef Martinez in the box.

One goal could have put them back in contention, but Luis Manuel Seijas committed the mistake of chipping the ball down the middle. Romero merely has to wait as the ball floated gently into his arms.

Messi then strengthened the Argentinan lead, running into a Nicolas Gaitan pass right outside the 6 yard box for a tap-in. Venezuela got their consolation from a Rondon header before Messi assists Erik Lamela for Argentina’s fourth.

“For us to be back in another semi-final of a big tournament like this one is a great achievement for these players,” Messi said after the match.

“I’m happy for what it means and it’s nice to be next to ‘Batigol’ (Batistuta),” he added about his new goal tally for Argentina. “But for me the most important thing is the result.”

USA the first to get through to Copa America semi-finals

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Copa America quarter-final

USA 2 – 1 Ecuador

USA’s quarter final encounter against Ecuador ended at 2-1 in favour of the host nation, and they will be the first team to move into the semi-finals of Copa America Centenario.

Right in the middle of the first half, Bobby Wood gets to a through ball and passes it to Jermaine Jones. Jones then lifts a cross to Dempsey, who heads the ball into the back of the net.

It also lifts Dempsey to level on goal tally with Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho – all three are now tied on top with 3 goals. But Dempsey’s only realistic competitor for the honour is Messi, after Coutinho followed Brazil in their exit from the tournament.

As the game continued into half-time, an interesting exchange saw two players sent off in a single incident. Antonio Valencia and Jermaine Jones were both sent off as they tangled up near the touchline; Valencia on a second yellow and Jones on a straight red.

In the replay, what the referee clearly saw was confirmed – that Jones had put a fist in Arroyo’s face and appeared to swing it a little bit. The match in Seattle proceeds on a 10v10 format as Jones will sit out the semi-finals.

As the game began the swing either way, Bobby Wood led another American charge, playing a through ball to find Matt Besler, who then predictably passes it to Dempsey. The captain crosses it to the far post to Gyasi Zardes, who taps it into an empty net.

Ecuador then finally responded with their first goal, scoring a set piece. The free kick on America’s left was sent to Arroyo, who hammers a low shot to beat Brad Guzan to his right. And with that, the American keeper’s clean sheet record ends after 301 minutes.

With a quarter of an hour to go, Ecuador searched desperately for their equalizer, but the game ultimately belonged to the US as they pushed boldly up front. Dominating the game, they held off Ecuador whenever they came, and then the final whistle rang.

Dempsey is subsequently announced as the man-of-the-match. True to form, the captain was vital for his national team for the entire tournament, scoring 3 goals in 3 games and assisting in almost every other.

And with their latest victory, USA progresses through the tournament and will either face Argentina or Venezuela next.