A cup that has met the 100 years’ celebration expectations
(June 28th, 2016) Copa America Centenario, which took place in the United States, had plenty of surprises, a good quota of excitement and great football, in stunning stadiums that hosted an impressive array of attendees from throughout the continent. Let’s share TOTAL’s recap of the tournament.
The continental championship that celebrated its first hundred years has come to an end, and Chile’s squad, led by Argentinean Juan Antonio Pizzi, has clinched the title after defeating Argentina in the final match, in a 4-2 penalty-kick shootout, after a 0-0 deadlock over 120 minutes of play. The following highlights summarize a tournament worth remembering:
- The championship had 91 goals, and Chilean Eduardo Vargas was the top scorer, with 6 goals, while Argentina’s men were the top scoring squad, after scoring 18 goals in 6 games.
- The tournament’s champion, Chile, was the team that won by the widest goal margin; in quarterfinals it beat Mexico 7-0 at Levi's Stadium, with goals of Vargas (4), Edson Puch (2) and Aléxis Sánchez. Brazil, during the first stage, crushed Haiti 7-1.
- Brazil’s early elimination by Peru during group stage turned out to be one of the most unexpected surprises, something that had not happened since 1987’s edition. Uruguay, the championship’s top scoring team with 15 trophies, was also eliminated in the first stage, like Paraguay.
Besides being awarded the top scoring team and the championship’s titles, Chile also swept the best player award, for Alexis Sánchez, and the best goalkeeper award, for Claudio Bravo. Argentina was granted the Fair Play Award.
- Copa America Centenario welcomed two newcomers, both from Central America: Haiti and Panama. Haiti’s team shared group with Peru, Ecuador and Brazil, and were beaten in the three matches, but achieved something historic: they scored a goal to the world’s five-time champions in the 1-7 rout at Citrus Bowl stadium, thanks to Marcelin. The Panama team, on the other hand, had an acceptable performance: they beat Bolivia 2-1 in the opening match, were crushed by Argentina and played strong against the final champion, Chile, in the 4-2 defeat.
- There was a big surprise in the quarterfinals and this was without a doubt Venezuela’s team. The Vinotinto came really close to coming atop Group C: it beat 1-0 Jamaica and Uruguay and it tied Mexico 1-1, coming out second on goal difference. Already among the top eight teams, it was outlasted by Argentina and ended up number six of the championship. It was its third best performance outside their country.
- The United States, host for the first time and participating for the fourth time, had a great performance, snatching a spot among the top four teams of the continent. It came out atop Group A and it crushed out Ecuador 2-1 in semifinals. Finally, they were kept off the podium due to the 1-0 defeat before Colombia in the third-place match.
- The aftermath to the Copa America Centenario results was strong. Ramón Díaz, Paraguay’s coach, and Dunga, Brazil’s coach, left their posts after their early eliminations in first stage. And the most stunning news came after the great final: Lionel Messi, the world’s best player, quit Argentina’s national team after losing to Chile.