In front of 82,026 fans in attendance at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the Copa América final between Argentina and Chile was one of the most exciting matches of the tournament from out of the gate. The attack began from Argentina right after the kickoff as Ever Banega lashed a shot just wide of Chile goalie Claudio Bravo's reach from the top of the box within the first 20 seconds of the match.
But much of the attention in the first half was focused on crazy physical play in which several tackles took place, prompting the referee Heber Lopes to trigger happy to issue cards. Lopes' reputation and history for being quick on the draw for issuing 14 red cards out of the past 29 games he's officiatied speaks for itself. The first began starting with this yellow card that would be later advanced to a red card on this play between Chile's Marcelo Diaz and Argentina's Lionel Messi at the 28:40-minute mark, which got Diaz ejected.
And then at the 42-minute mark, Lopes threw out another red card to eject Argentina's Marcos Rojo for footsweeping tackle of Chile's Arturo Vidal. It was the first time that two players from opposing teams in the Copa América final had been thrown out of the game.
Many fans tweeted about how ridiculous it seemed to have issued out this many red cards so promptly.
Into the second half, the game remained 0-0 through the end of regulation, and stayed scoreless all through extra time. A shootout would have to decide who would win the title. Both teams would missed their first penalty kick attempts, but ended up kickng goals for their following two penalty rounds. In the fourth penalty round, Chile made their attempt, and Lionel Messi missed this rebuttal penalty kick in the shootout.
The winning kick in the fifth round was sealed by Chile's Francisco Silva, with the final shootout score as 4-2.
Chile's Arturo Vidal had this to say about the win: "A lot of people said we were not favorites. A lot of people said that we were actually helped during the Copa America last year." The La Roja midfielder continued, "But we finally proved we can win it at a neutral venue and we are ready to keep working hard to achieve more things in the future."
This is Chile's second consecutive Copa América title, and team forward Alexis Sanchez was selected as Player of the Tournament. As for Argentina, they have now lost in the final game of a major tournament for three consecutive summers.