Sat, 02 Dec, 2023

The Highlights of Copa America 2015

By Anish Thakuri

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A month long South American Continental cup, Copa America has ended dramatically this Saturday night by welcoming the new champions, Chile. The home team has been crowned their first ever major title at the international level after 99 years of promotion to senior level. In the final match, the host nation has defeated the powerhouse, Argentina with the score of 4-1 in a penalty shootout. Matias Fernandez, Arturo Vida and Charles Aranguiz all scored for Chile before Sanchez's sealed the win, whereas Lionel Messi was the only one to net for the Argentina. The tournament was enveloped by anticipation, excitement and some scandals as well. Here are some things that we can conclude after this tournament.

[caption id="attachment_7425" align="aligncenter" width="635"]Chilee Chile celebrate their famous win at their home soil
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 Rise of the Underdogs

This tournament has taken new teams as strong contenders in the International football. Underdogs no more remain mediocre. The team like Chile, Peru, Paraguay have proved it in this tournament. They are equally capable as other so called powerhouses. Chile, which consists of some of the stars from European football like Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Claudio Bravo have never been considered as big threats on the international level. But with the support of a home crowd, they have played with strong desire, dedication and passion, which led them to glory as the first ever international title. Teams like Peru and Paraguay which don't have big names, managed to extend their journey into the semi-finals. This shows that the underdogs are rising higher. We cannot judge them based on their history only.

 Messi: So close yet so far

The incredible season for Lionel Messi would have reached another altitude if his country had clinched the Copa America title. But Saturday's defeat in the final against Chile denied him to match up his name in front of the legends like Pele & Maradona. Even though he didn't score too many goals, he has been brilliant in the play maker role for Argentina in this tournament. Producing a fine assist and make a big impact on the semi-finals against Paraguay, the stage was once again set for him to get rid of the burden from his shoulders since his team was beaten by Germany in the World Cup final, 2014. Since his team mates failed to convert the spot kicks, he was denied once again to kiss the trophy.

[caption id="attachment_7424" align="aligncenter" width="572"]Messssi Photo: Messi fails to win the trophies
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The world has witnessed the goal machines like Brazilian Pele & Ronaldo. The world has also witnessed the play maker maestros like Deigo Maredona and Zenidan Zidan but Lionel Messi, who has both goal scoring as well as play maker abilities is yet to win a silverware for his country. There is no doubt Lionel Messi is equally talented as all of the four mentioned player perhaps even more. Failing to win trophies does not mean that we need to doubt his abilities. Even though we cannot deny the fact that Lionel Messi is the most inspirational, a true prodigy of modern football. He has done enough with his club Barcelona. So, It will be an injustice if history didn't mention his name.

 Is this the end of Brazilian era?

When it comes to the International football, Brazil used to be the most successful team in the world. Pele, Ronaldo, Romario, Rhonaldino, those players played for this country. The country has won record 5 times FIFA World Cup title. But once a king doesn't always remain a king. In the last 5 years, the scenario has been completely different. After they suffered a 7-1 humiliation in their home soil against the world champions Germany last year, Brazil has been eliminated in the quarter finals by the mediocre Paraguay.

[caption id="attachment_7426" align="aligncenter" width="670"]Brazil Photo: Brazilian player Neymar in a fight against Colombian players
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It seemed like their whole squad was dependent on their young Barcelona star Neymar Jr. After his howler against the match against Colombia, their talisman was suspended for the entire tournament. As Neymar got out from the squad, the entire Brazilian team seemed to have lost their grip. Isn't it shame for the team, which has such rich history? So, if Brazil cannot make a solid comeback in international football soon then it is obvious that the next generation will not remember them as the greatest team ever.