Copa America’s Best XI dominated by Chile, Argentina; Fair or foul?
According to the Copa America Centenario Technical Study Group, all of the best players at Copa America Centenario were in Group D’s pair of finalists.
Given the star wattage of players on Chile and Argentina, perhaps that was always coming (Sorry, James Rodriguez, Clint Dempsey, John Brooks, and David Ospina: You’re mere semifinalists).
Anyway, the CACTSG handed out the Golden Boot (Eduardo Vargas), Golden Glove (Claudio Bravo) and Golden Ball (Alexis Sanchez), as well as a team Fair Play Award (Argentina).
As for the Best XI, plenty up for debate here:
Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo (Chile)
Defenders: Mauricio Isla (Chile), Nicolás Otamendi (Argentina), Gary Medel (Chile), Jean Beausejour (Chile)
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Arturo Vidal (Chile), Charles Aránguiz (Chile)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Argentina), Eduardo Vargas (Chile), Alexis Sánchez (Chile)
After allowing five goals in the group stage, Chile threw zeroes across its three knockout rounds games. That’s enough for Claudio Bravo, who had two howlers against Panama, to pass David Ospina? To the victors go the spoils.
You couldn’t reasonably slot James or Dempsey ahead of the trio of forwards, though if Alexis Sanchez is a “midfielder”, then surely you could fudge James’ position, too (especially if the third place game means anything). Presumably that would be over Charles Aranguiz in the midfield.
Perhaps Argentina’s 4-0 destruction of an otherwise stingy USMNT makes Brooks or Geoff Cameron unappealing at center back (despite allowing three goals in the tourney leading up to the semi)? And there wasn’t a single back better than Isla? Alright.
As for quarterfinalists, Venezuela’s Wilker Angel marshaled a back line that allowed just one goal before the 4-1 ouster from Argentina. And Mexico’s midfield had a strong tournament before siete a cero.
Well done, CACTSG; Not only does your initialism sound like a rapper from the desert, but you sleepwalked through your only job.