Hey everyone that is fresh off the Women's World Cup Finals, don't forget about the Copa America finals that took place Saturday. Established soccer powerhouse, Argentina, took on the host nation, Chile in a thriller. I am a fan of Chile because their defense has been top ten, even top five in the world rankings for the last two World Cups, and this time Chile brought some established players who can play. On paper, Argentina is better attack wise, but not in the midfield and definitely not defensively and I think Chile noticed that.
What I mean by that is typically when an "underdog" is facing an established soccer power they typically play on the counter attack and try to pick their spots while playing defense. Not Chile, to say they went for it is an understatement. They were the clear leaders in the possessions and shot categories plus the midfield was able to create for Sanchez and Vargas to capitalize. Fortunately for Argentina, they have this player named Lionel Messi who if you have not heard, is pretty good (sarcasm). Couple Messi with Di Maria and Aguero and a bench full of good-to-great forwards and Argentina is in good shape to play counter attack football.
Despite lots of chances, neither the home team in Chile or away team in Argentina could breakthrough in the regular or extra time so it went to penalties. This is where we saw Chile's character as they beat Argentina 4-1 in penalties to win the Copa America on home soil.
For me, this game established two points. One was purely soccer talk and the other was about the tournament as a whole. The first point is how good of a manager Jorge Sampaoli is and a big example of that was the formation he used. He used a 4-3-3 but tweaked it a bit to look like a 4-3-1-2 to give Alexis Sanchez freedom to run away and wreak havoc, either creating for Eduardo Vargas or to dribble past defenders. That formation is what gave the Argentine defense such trouble. Even though Chile didn't score, they clearly had their way with Argentina.
Secondly is it just me or did too many stars get suspensions and bans. Players like Neymar and Cavani were sent off or suspended, thus it makes me wonder what if? That is not to take anything away from Chile because they are a great team but Brazil with Neymar and Uruguay with a full 11 would have challenged Chile a lot more. Overall it was a good tournament for Chile and I expect Chile to follow this up in the World Cup barring any players falling out of form.