For better or for worse, what a difference the comfort of home makes.
Chile managed to outlast a crowded field to bag their first Copa America trophy, which doubled as their first major title at a FIFA sanctioned tournament.
It quickly became apparent that this team was bigger than its European stars Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal. The team was resilient when its talismans were inconsistent or too cumbersome in possession. This was a well organized side with shrewd tactics who looked as comfortable in methodical build up play as they did during breakneck counter attacks. This was a deep team with talent in spades.
Is there a more heartwarming storyline this year than the perpetually loveable underdogs outlasting the World Cup semifinalists – a with such an embarrassment of riches they were 3 flubbed penalties away from the title despite the painfully poor display from the greatest player on the planet. Conversely, fellow Barcelona star and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was the most valuable man in the tournament.
Bravo was the difference maker as we watched his rival keeper, Sergio Romero literally disappear in the net. The Argentine has a habit of doing this in big moments. None was more famous than his disappearing act against Germany where he did the best he could to GET OUT OF THE WAY of Mario Gotze’s match winner.
The story remains the same for Argentina who now have a 22 year trophy drought and a captain whose nonpareil skill for club never seems to appear for country.