The Copa Centenario has come and gone, and reigning champions Chile defended their title in some style. Their back-to-back Copa America wins is an outstanding achievement, particularly for a country with a population of just 17 million. In case you missed the whole thing, here are the top five moments from the tournament.
In all the Messi madness, it seems people are forgetting how brilliant a tournament the Chile team had, repeating history with another Copa America title, again against Argentina and again on penalties. The Chilean national team will be remembered for their ability to cope under pressure and defy expectations.
Lionel Messi became Argentina’s all-time leading scorer, breaking the record with a perfectly placed free kick against host nation USA.
Brazil had a calamitous Copa America, failing to reach the knockouts without their star man Neymar, and firing manager Dunga shortly after. Whether Brazil deserved to lose to Peru or not is one thing, but Raul Ruidiaz’s knocking them out in the final group game thanks to a blatant handball must be a hard pill to swallow. Ruidiaz later said “It was my only option”.
Not to take away from Chile’s 7-0 victory over Mexico, Chile definitely put on a show but Mexico were coming into the game unbeaten in 22 games and left looking humiliated after their worst ever defeat in a major tournament. One journalist described it as the blackest night in the history of Mexican football.
After reaching his fourth final with Argentina, and still not registering one win, Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football. His class is undoubtable and he might be criticised for hanging up his boots this early, but it seemed he gave it his all. In his post-match interview, Messi said “It’s difficult. I think the national team is over for me”. It then went from bad to worse for Argentina, as his retirement seemed to spark a mass exodus, with the likes of Mascherano, Aguero and Di Maria all following him out the door. Let’s hope it was just a rush of blood to their heads and they return to the international stage soon.