Chile repeats as Copa America champions after dramatic penalty shootout
After last year’s thriller in Chile, it was only fitting that the 2016 Copa America Centenario final would be decided by penalty kicks.
Claudio Bravo played hero for Chile once again on Sunday, defeating rivals Argentina 0-0 (4-2 on penalty kicks). Francisco Silva netted the final penalty attempt for the Chileans, giving them their second straight Copa America title.
Arturo Vidal had Chile’s first attempt saved by keeper Sergio Romero, before Lionel Messi skied his effort into the crowd to open the shootout.
The game’s first quality chance came in the 21st minute, when Gary Medel’s mistake at the back led to a Gonzalo Higuain breakaway. The Napoli striker found his way in on goal, chipped the ball past Bravo but missed just wide. Medel, trying to make up for his mistake, came crashing into the post as the ball traveled out of play.
From there, the game took a drastic dip in chances, as referee Heber Lopes stole the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Chile’s chances of repeating took a massive hit just before the half hour mark, when Marcelo Diaz received his second yellow card in a span of 12 minutes, reducing La Roja to 10 men for the remainder of the match. However, Argentina was forced to play with 10 players as well, after Marcos Rojo was sent off just prior to halftime.
Opportunities in front of goal were scarce throughout regulation, with three combined shots on net from Chile and Argentina during the 90 minutes.