by Lewis Ambrose

Chile have not won the Copa América in its 99-year history, but have made the final of the tournament this summer.

A hard-fought 2-1 victory against Peru, who were the surprise of the tournament, saw Chile book their place in the final. Is a long wait for glory about to end for Alexis Sánchez, his teammates, and the entire nation?

Basketball

It’s said often enough, but this truly was akin to a basketball game in the opening stages. A true end-to-end affair which saw Peru more than match Chile, looking dangerous every time they broke into the host’s half.

The game changed on 20 minutes, when Peru had temperamental defender Carlos Zambrano sent off. The Eintracht Frankfurt centre-half, who had already had a run in with Arturo Vidal, flung a high boot at Charles Aranguiz and had to go.

Until that point it had looked as though Peru would compete, but it was always going to be difficult a man down.

Eduardo Vargas punished them shortly before half-time to give Chile the lead, with Alexis playing a huge part. The Arsenal winger killed a long pass before swivelling inside and playing a beautifully curled ball in. It was all so fluid, so natural.

Aranguiz missed the pass but Vargas was on hand to react quickest as it bounced off the post and leave Chile 45 minutes from the final.

Ended

It was Vargas who thought he had ended the game just after half-time, when he had another effort harshly ruled out for offside.

Peru didn’t hesitate and took the game to Chile whenever possible. They were rewarded in the a 60th minutes equaliser as Internazionale midfielder (and Chile defender) Gary Medel putting the ball in his own net.

But parity didn’t last long. It took just four minutes for Vargas to pick up the ball around 25 yards from goal and strike a ball sweeter than any ball has been struck in this Copa América.

A contender for goal of the tournament is quite a way to send your team into a final.

Shone

Alexis has not had the best of tournaments, but the talisman shone last night. His pass selection was impeccable, his dribbling clean, and his control fantastic.

Without being rewarded by a goal last night, the forward was sublime. The verve that a confident Alexis brings to a team is undeniable, and Chile will need that in the final.

Paraguay and Argentina face each other in the second semi-final. Alexis Sánchez Vs. Lionel Mess would be quite the showpiece final.

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Usually found watching or talking about English or German football. Interested in tactics (but often despairing a lack of them). Favourite players: Bergkamp, Arteta, Özil