So the Copa America has come to an end, and as expected we have new winners of the ABC World Cup. Or should that new but old winners, as Chile reclaimed the title after winning the tournament for the second consecutive year.
Let’s go back to the quarter-finals, when the last update ended, with Mexico the holders after finishing top of Group C. But they were sent back down to earth with a massive bump, losing 7-0 to Chile, who finished as runners-up in Group D. Edson Puch scored the first and last goals in the rout, and in between former QPR player Eduardo Vargas netted FOUR, and Alexis Sanchez also got on the scoresheet.
A semi-final tie with Colombia was reward for the thrashing, and although Chile didn’t score as many, they effectively put the game to bed within 11 minutes as they went 2-0 up in that time through goals from Charles Aranguiz and Jose Pedro Fuenzalida. Their explosive start to the contest was stemmed at half-time, as a powerful thunderstorm halted play. Spectators were ordered to take shelter inside the stadium, leaving the ground empty as torrential rain pounded the stands. After a delay of two hours and 25 minutes, the second half resumed, and although there were no more goals, Colombia’s Aston Villa midfielder Carlos Sanchez was sent off for a second yellow card offence in the 57th minute.
That set up a repeat of the 2015 final against Argentina, when Chile won on penalties to win their first ever Copa America. However, in the group stage of this year’s competition, it was Argentina who were victorious, winning 2-1. The game to decide the tournament once again went to spot-kicks following a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes that also saw both teams reduced to 10 men in the first half – Marcelo Diaz sent off for Chile before Argentina’s Marcos Rojo suffered the same fate.
In the shoot-out, Arturo Vidal missed the first penalty for Chile before Lionel Messi miscued, bowing his head and clenching his fists in frustration. Nicolas Castillo and Aranguiz converted their kicks for Chile, while Javier Mascherano and Sergio Aguero dispatched theirs, but after Jean Beausejour put Chile ahead, Claudio Bravo dived to his right to save from Lucas Biglia. Francisco Silva kept his cool, drilling low into the corner as Chile’s players raced to celebrate the winning spot-kick.
The result was Argentina’s fourth loss in a major final, and caused Lionel Messi to retire from international football. But will he back?
Congratulations to Chile though, who reclaim the ABC World Cup title they first won after lifting the Copa America last year. They retained it for five games before losing it against Uruguay in November. How long can they hold on to it for this time? These are their next five fixtures, all in South American World Cup Qualification:
- 01/09 vs Paraguay (A)
- 06/09 vs Bolivia (H)
- 03/10 vs Ecuador (A)
- 11/10 vs Peru (H)
- 07/11 vs Colombia (A)
And here is the entire history of the ABC World Cup: