Heartbreak for Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi as Argentina lost to Chile in the final of the Copa America. The Paris Saint-Germain men were a few penalty kicks away from winning their fifth trophy of the season and the first Copa America title for Argentina in 22 years.
Both Pastore and Lavezzi played the majority of the game, which was cagey, end-to-end, frantic, and chaotic. With both teams duking it out in the middle of the pitch, Chile’s narrow attack forced its way into the box more often than Tata Martino’s men, while the Argentines preferred to use the full width of the pitch to try to forge an attack. While entertaining at times, neither side capitalized on their chances in regular time.
Argentina settled into the game about 15 minutes into the first half after weathering a storm of Chilean attacks. Pastore’s link-up play in the midfield was essential and he found Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi throughout the match. Lavezzi came on in the 28th minute for Angel Di Maria, who went down with a hamstring injury, and it didn’t take long for the two PSG men to find each other.
Fine footwork from Pastore to put the chance in, but ultimately the finish was straight at Bravo. Argentina came out of the second half absorbing much of the same pressure, while Martino made the bizarre decision to sub off Aguero for Gonzalo Higuain instead of Carlos Tevez. Higuain—who went on to record the lowest match rating from both whoscored.com and goal.com—remained just as anonymous as the Manchester City man, despite Argentina turning up the pressure late on; he emphasized this by scuffing a heart-wrenching chance delivered by Lavezzi after a great run by Messi.
Lavezzi’s left-footed cross was admittedly not ideal, but Higuain did very little to endear himself to the Argentine faithful after last year’s World Cup final. That was the last kick of the 90 minutes. In extra time, Lavezzi was denied claims for a penalty, and both of Martino’s subsitutes—Higuain and Ever Banega, who had come on for Pastore in the 80th minute—missed their penalties in the shootout, leaving Chile to run out as winners. A sad day for fans of PSG and Argentina, but it must be said that Chile’s Jorge Sampaoli was the superior manager, despite Argentina’s supreme individual talent. Martino’s substitutes emphasized that.
@addictedtoluiz Yeah, supposedly 4 weeks from the date they left Copa America. So, not until around July 25. That is almost at end of ICC.
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) July 3, 2015
Pastore and Lavezzi will be given extended leave by PSG for their role in the tournament to rest and recuperate, per French football journalist Jonathan Johnson. Both will miss the team’s upcoming USA tour and may miss the Trophee des Champions on August 1st in Montreal.