After 30 matches of some high-quality football, featuring some of the best teams in the world the Copa America 2016 has finally found its top two teams who will battle it out to become the Continental Champions of Americas. Argentina and Chile in a replay of the last edition’s Copa America final will square it off again on 26th June at the Metlife Stadium. It will be an opportunity for Argentina to avenge their defeat for Chile it will be another chance to cause an upset and defend their title.
These two teams have worked real hard and have been blessed by some individual brilliance as well as team effort to make their way to the final of the tournament. The journey has not been easy for the tournament has witnessed highly competitive matches, substantial upsets with two tournament favorites Brazil and Uruguay failing to qualify from group stages and added to all this poor standard of refereeing which have influenced outcomes of matches.
Lets look at how Argentina and Chile maneuvered their way to the finals as both look to win the trophy on Sunday.
Road to The Finals
Chile were drawn in the same group as Argentina along with Panama and Bolivia. They managed to finish second in the group behind their competitors in the final. They lost their first match 2-1 to Argentina, the scoreline doesn’t justify the quality that Argentina had on display. This defeat was a deter to Chile but they managed to cope with it and were able to beat opponents Bolivia in the next match courtesy a penalty in the 10th minute of added time, against Panama they came from a goal down to fire four winning the match eventually at 4-2 and finished the group with 6 points.
In the knockout phase, they were lined up against Group C toppers Mexico, a team which was considered as the tournament favorites under the able management of Juan Carlos Osorio as they had topped the group featuring the likes of Venezuela and Uruguay. But come the hour come the man,
Chile showed why they are the champions and fired seven goals past Mexico to give out a statement to all those who were counting them out. Vargas the tournament top scorer with six goals was Mexico’s chief tormentor firing four goals in 30 minutes.
In the semifinals they faced Colombia and the bad weather which saw the game delayed by two hours. But two goals in the first fifteen minutes were enough to guide them into the finals their second consecutive final.
Unlike Chile, Argentina the top ranked team in the world have been flawless in the tournament. They started the tournament with a less than fit Lionel Messi who did not feature in the first match against Chile yet they were perfect winning it 2-1. How do make perfection better add Lionel Messi, the Argentinian Captain made his first appearance in the tournament in the second group match against Panama and fired a hat trick coming off the bench. Argentina finished the group stage with another comprehensive win against Bolivia scoring a total of 10 goals in all and getting 9 out of 9 points on offer becoming the only team in the competition to do so.
Next up they faced against Venezuela and won it 4-1 courtesy a Messi masterclass, picking up both a goal and an assist.
Messi started the match for the first time in the tournament, and if only his substitution heroics were less his full match play only added to why he is the best player in the world.
The semifinal was an emotional affair as they were up against the home team America, who under the management of Jürgen Klinsmann sure have made tremendous progress but are still not at the level of world beaters and the 4-0 scoreline was ample proof of it. America is still a work in progress as far as football is concerned. Argentina taught them a lesson or two in football, they scored goals at will, exposing the Americans on all aspects to book their place in the finals.
Argentina seem like an unbeatable opposition, Messi has been in a different form all together he has been the creator, provider as well as the scorer and he has been ably supported by his team in every aspect. Not only have the managed to score a lot of goals they have defended well too leaking a mere 2 goals in all. But this is similar to how it was in the last edition of Copa they were the best team only to be bested by Chile in the final.
Chile will surely take some confidence from it and having played Argentina in the first match they are aware of the possible threats and will be looking to close it. They are worthy finalists and have been indeed the second best team in the tournament and have fought their way to the final.
The final will also be able to answer if Messi’s moment to international glory has finally come or will he again be unlucky for the nth time now.