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Red Hot Chile Turn Over A New Leaf Lifting The Copa America

July 5, 2015

Copa-America-2015-LogoI have written very little on football since the commencement of my WordPress journey during the Copa America 2011. Soccer nevertheless, being the more popular of the two games when compared to cricket, has brought me some sound response from the people worldwide. Also on resuming my activities nearly after an 18 months’ pause, I got off to a start to that all important 2nd spell of my blogging career with the article on FIFA World Cup 2014. With the kind of support I had from you people, it never looked like that I had not been posting anything for such a long period. This surely has to be one of the biggest reasons what has made me able to taste some success, whatever little I have tasted so far. And hence I find a different pleasure every time as I write something on football, whatever little I have written so far.

If I need to talk about the largest football tournament of South America, from the time I started watching football, nobody else have dominated more than Brazil. However if you take the whole scenario under consideration then Brazil do not come anywhere near to their two other continental arch rivals Uruguay and Argentina. It simply goes to show how the best two teams in the history of Copa America have been losing their way over the years. Although Uruguay managed to win it last time after being in hibernation for a very long time, Argentina just didn’t have the last laugh despite featuring in 3 of the last 4 Copa America finals.

Last two editions of this tournament have set a new trend though. What unofficially used to be a solitary battle of the big boys where the minnows would never have an entry is now looking a whole new ball game altogether. Until the flavors of uncertainty and unpredictability got added to this competition it was hard to imagine Brazil getting shuttered by Paraguay in successive Copa meetings, and Argentina on their home soil suffering an early exit against Uruguay. Columbia meanwhile have climbed high up in the FIFA rankings while the likes of Venezuela and Peru are not lagging too behind either. The emerging football powers across the different parts of the globe are getting stronger day by day – among whom Chile have drawn some serious attention of the football fans.

As I mentioned, even a decade ago 9 out of 10 times the giants like Argentina would not have allowed their underdog opponents to become the giant killers. The favorites would attack more right from the outset whereas their opponents would look to stretch the game as longer as possible. Chile however had some other ideas as they came into this final. They played aggressive football and went ahead in numbers. Though the hosts didn’t have anything to show at the score-sheet in their 1st half performance, they certainly had a lot of positives to take out of that. They tested Romero along with his defense line on numerous occasions while Claudio Bravo at the other end made sure that they don’t concede anything. On the other hand, Argentina had their biggest setback as Angel Di Maria had to go out in tears with a hamstring injury and probably the title hopes also left them with his departure.

During the less eventful 2nd half Chile looked dangerous on the break. Isla was as reliable as ever on the overlap. But the likes of Sanchez and Vidal could not test the goalkeeper as much as they have liked to. On the whole they did well to keep Messi quiet for most of the time except conceding a few free kicks from distance and bookings. The best chance of the match for Argentina came at the dying seconds of the second half, where Higuain side-netted his effort from a couple of yards of the uncovered first post. He will never forget his one-on-one miss against Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, but I wonder is this going to be a greater regret because had that gone in, he would not have to see his penalty sailing miles over the bar later on the game.

The willingness to attack from both the teams presented an entertaining spell of extra time. We witnessed a fascinating display of end-to-end stuff from both the teams, particularly in the last quarter of the extra time. Sanchez there could have sealed the game capitalizing on the big let off by Mascherano, but I am sure that he enjoyed rolling the cheekiest of penalties of the shootout more than anything else. Apart from Vidal, who was lucky enough to find the back of the net, Chileans hit their penalties to perfection. On the other hand, except Lionel Messi, the way Argentines took the spot their spot-kicks, concluded their story of the tournament, only to remain as the 2nd best side. One can feel for the greatest footballer of the planet, once again he went so close of winning something in the national jersey; but unfortunately he has to end up being so far. Sorry Leo, it’s all about team game and Chile inarguably played better as a whole unit.

To conclude the things let’s get back to the champions once more. Every champion team needs leaders in all its departments, something what has been clearly seen in this Chile side. Alexis Sanchez has been their best player for quite some time now and it was great to see his taking that decisive penalty with such a cool head. He is now joined by Vargas, one who started being in a club that got relegated, and now has emerged as the player of the tournament to take his team to glory. What an exciting youngster he is turning out to be! Although Arturo Vidal didn’t have the greatest of nights in the finals, his presence in the midfield has been the key to success for Chile. Gary Medel, a true warrior at the center back position defended his heart out throughout the tournament with the countless number of challenges and vital interceptions. And of course, the captain himself and the last line of defense, Claudio Bravo has been like a safe custodian. He had a great season with Barcelona which comes to an end with the victory that has helped him to fulfill his dreams of lifting the Copa. From the first day Chile looked the best side of the tournament and one have to say that they are the deserving champions.

Longer the wait, sweeter the fruit tastes. They kept waiting and waiting for their turn and when it finally came, they made sure that they make the most of it. It took them 99 years to have a taste of a major title and the wait ends on their home soil. What else could the fans have asked for! They certainly had their money’s worth. The memories of the unforgettable Sanchez penalty and the celebrations followed by that goal will always send shivers down their spines.

  1. Pritam Daa permalink

    Outstanding analysis. The whole 10 minutes read was fruit bearing as it had highlighted every nooks and corners of the entire match .kip it up and best of luck for ur upcoming blogs .

  2. Ankan Roy permalink


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