Chile 0-0 Argentina (AET, 4-1 pens): Alexis Sanchez scores winning penalty as hosts clinch Copa America glory in dramatic shootout

Chile beat Argentina 4-1 on penalties to win the Copa America for the first time at the National Stadium in Santiago
Alexis Sanchez cheekily chipped the winning penalty after Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega failed to convert
Argentina midfielder Angel di Maria was forced off in the first half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury
The two sides could not be separated in 90 minutes as Gonzalo Higuain hit the side-netting in injury time
Relive all the action as it happened with Sportsmail’s live runner
By MARTIN DOMIN FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 22:53 GMT, 4 July 2015 | UPDATED: 15:17 GMT, 5 July 2015
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At last, the wait is over.

In a stadium so entrenched in Chile’s history it almost drips from the creaking rafters, a new chapter was written.

The Estadio Nacional, which once housed up to 20,000 citizens during the country’s bloody dictatorship, erupted as Alexis Sanchez cheekily chipped home the winning penalty to end La Roja’s 99-year wait for Copa America success.

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The Chile squad celebrate with the Copa America trophy after finally winning the tournament for the very first time
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The Chile squad celebrate with the Copa America trophy after finally winning the tournament for the very first time

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and his team-mates hold the trophy aloft after their penalty shootout win against Argentina
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Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and his team-mates hold the trophy aloft after their penalty shootout win against Argentina

Alexis Sanchez gets his hands on the hefty Copa America trophy as members of the team are joined by their family in celebrating
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Alexis Sanchez gets his hands on the hefty Copa America trophy as members of the team are joined by their family in celebrating

A dejected Lionel Messi takes his runners-up medal off after failing to inspire Argentina to victory during a heated game
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A dejected Lionel Messi takes his runners-up medal off after failing to inspire Argentina to victory during a heated game

Alexis Sanchez scored the winning penalty for Chile as they beat Argentina 4-1 in a shootout to win the Copa America in Santiago
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Alexis Sanchez scored the winning penalty for Chile as they beat Argentina 4-1 in a shootout to win the Copa America in Santiago

The team hailed at the start of this tournament as the best Chile had ever produced duly delivered as Argentina lost a second major final in as many summers.

A breathless but goalless 90 minutes was followed by a tense period of extra-time between the two best sides in the competition.

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Chilean players celebrate with the trophy of the 2015 Copa America football championship, in Santiago, Chile, on July 4, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PABLO PORCIUNCULAPABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images
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But it was Chile who, at the opposite end to the permanently empty seats that serve as a reminder of lives lost, held their nerve from 12 yards.

Even the Santiago smog had cleared sufficiently for the snow-kissed Andes to provide a stunning backdrop to the closing act of the 44th edition of the South American showpiece.
Chile wins Copa America with penalties defeat of Argentina

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Scorer of the winning penalty Sanchez whips off his shirt as he celebrates Chile’s historic Copa America victory
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Scorer of the winning penalty Sanchez whips off his shirt as he celebrates Chile’s historic Copa America victory

The Chile players mob Arsenal star Sanchez as the squad celebrate winning their first ever major trophy
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The Chile players mob Arsenal star Sanchez as the squad celebrate winning their first ever major trophy

Gonzalo Higuain balloons his spot kick wildly over the bar to hand the initiative to the host nation in Santiago
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Gonzalo Higuain balloons his spot kick wildly over the bar to hand the initiative to the host nation in Santiago

Tensions run high as both sets of players line up on the half-way line ahead of the crucial penalty shootout
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Tensions run high as both sets of players line up on the half-way line ahead of the crucial penalty shootout

MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
Chile XI: Bravo 7, Isla 7, Medel 7.5, Silva 7.5, Beausejour 7, Aranguiz 7, Diaz 7.5, Vidal 6.5, Valdivia 6.5 (Fernandez 75 5.5), Sanchez 8, Vargas 5.5 (Henriquez 95 6)

Subs not used: Garces, Mena, Albornoz, Fuenzalida, Pinilla, Rojas, Pizarro, Gutierrez, Herrera

Booked: Silva, Medel, Diaz, Aranguiz

Penalties scored: Fernandez, Vidal, Aranguiz, Sanchez

Manager: Jorge Sampaoli

Argentina XI: Romero 6.5, Zabaleta 7, Demichelis 6, Otamendi 6.5, Rojo 5, Biglia 6.5, Mascherano 6, Pastore 5 (Banega 81 6), Messi 6, Aguero 5.5 (Higuain 74 4), Di Maria 6 (Lavezzi 29 4)

Subs not used: Marchesin, Garay, Roncaglia, Gago, Pereyra, Guzman, Casco, Tevez, Lamela

Booked: Rojo, Masherano, Benega

Penalty scored: Messi

Penalties missed: Higuain, Banega

Manager: Gerardo Martino

Chile were one of four nations to have made up the first in 1916 but had never stepped on to the winners’ podium despite reaching the final on four previous occasions while Argentina were looking to quench their own 22-year trophy drought And La Albiceleste had triumphed at the last four Copa Americas held in this country.

The donation of 40,000 flags to the home support by a prominent philanthropist created a wall of red, white and blue with several thousand of their Argentinian counterparts able to get their hands on tickets which had reportedly been on sale for up to £16,000 on the black market Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli, tasked with masterminding victory over his homeland, dropped Jose Rojas after a poor performance against Peru in the semi-final.

And having locked himself away and agonised over how best to stop Lionel Messi, he opted to recall Jean Beausejour while Miiko Albornoz made way for Francisco Silva.

With Ezequiel Garay failing to recover from a stomach bug, Martin Demichelis retained his place at the heart of Argentina’s defence as Tata Martino stuck with the side that ran riot against Paraguay in the last four. Six of the line-up also started in the triumphant 2008 Olympic final in Beijing while seven remained from the defeat by Germany at the World Cup.

Chile had betrayed a sense of nervousness against Peru as they perhaps felt the weight of expectation for the first time following a hitherto near-flawless campaign.

But they made a bright start to the final, led by Jorge Valdivia, often more playboy than playmaker, but who had been instrumental in La Roja’s run to the final.

The hosts certainly showed no signs of abandoning their attacking principles in a frenetic start, even if their final deliveries were somewhat lacking. Eduardo Vargas, the hero in the semi-final, burst into the box but dragged his shot wide of the far post before Arturo Vidal broke from deep to volley goalwards only to be denied by a sprawling Sergio Romero.

But after a hesitant opening, Argentina almost broke the deadlock when Sergio Aguero met a near-post free-kick only for Claudio Bravo to react instantly and parry the header to safety. At the other end, Vargas latched on to an inch-perfect pass before proceeding to blaze his effort wastefully over the bar.
Gonzalo Higuain slides in at the back post but can only stab an effort into the side netting from an acute angle
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Gonzalo Higuain slides in at the back post but can only stab an effort into the side netting from an acute angle

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez watches his effort fly past the outstretched glove of Sergio Romero but past the post too
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Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez watches his effort fly past the outstretched glove of Sergio Romero but past the post too
Argentina forward Lionel Messi ends up in the net but neither side managed to out the ball in the goal in 90 minutes
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Argentina forward Lionel Messi ends up in the net but neither side managed to out the ball in the goal in 90 minutes

Lionel Messi gets a kick in the midriff by former Cardiff player Gary Medel as the Barcelona forward take the ball down on his chest
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Lionel Messi gets a kick in the midriff by former Cardiff player Gary Medel as the Barcelona forward take the ball down on his chest

Chile defender Medel protests to the referee as he is awarded with a yellow card for kicking Messi in the stomach during the first half
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Chile defender Medel protests to the referee as he is awarded with a yellow card for kicking Messi in the stomach during the first half

Angel di Maria hits the deck after appearing to injure his hamstring during the first half before being substituted
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Angel di Maria hits the deck after appearing to injure his hamstring during the first half before being substituted

Chile manage to get the ball clear after goalkeeper Claudio Bravo makes a save in a crowded penalty area to deny Argentina
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Chile manage to get the ball clear after goalkeeper Claudio Bravo makes a save in a crowded penalty area to deny Argentina

Martino was forced into an unplanned switch on the half-hour mark when Angel di Maria, who had been the victim of persistent and blatant fouling, pulled his hamstring and was replaced by Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Chile had used PlayStation technology in an attempt to thrash out out a plan to thwart Messi but but Gary Medel resorted to less refined methods with a mistimed kick to his midriff.

Both sides had opportunities to go into the break in front with Sanchez curling the ball straight at Romero before Lavezzi forced Bravo into a smart stop at the other end.

And it was a similar story after the break with Vidal heading tamely at Argentina’s goalkeeper before the pace finally relented.
Manchester United midfielder Di Maria is sent tumbling to the turf under a strong challenge by Chile midfielder Charles Aranguiz
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Manchester United midfielder Di Maria is sent tumbling to the turf under a strong challenge by Chile midfielder Charles Aranguiz

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano points to his chest as the referee dishes out a yellow card for handball
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Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano points to his chest as the referee dishes out a yellow card for handball

Argentina had looked most dangerous from set pieces but even Messi, a shadow of the man who tore Paraguay to shreds, failed to clear the wall with a free-kick from a threatening position.

Sanchez, who had endured a frustrating tournament in front of goal, almost set up his former Colo Colo team-mate Vidal for the opener but his shot at the back post was blocked. Sanchez was again the creator when he supplied Vargas but the former Queens Park Rangers loanee could not direct his shot either side of Romero.

With extra-time looming for the first time in the tournament, a sullen Valdivia refused to acknowledge his replacement Matias Fernandes while Martino turned to Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega.

But neither side looked prepared to grab this final by the scruff of the neck until Sanchez came within inches of winning it with a well-hit volley.
Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal is carried off the pitch on a stretcher after suffering a cut below his right knee but was OK to continue
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Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal is carried off the pitch on a stretcher after suffering a cut below his right knee but was OK to continue

Eduardo Vargas, who was on loan at QPR last season, goes down clutching his face after a collision with Nicolas Otamendi
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Eduardo Vargas, who was on loan at QPR last season, goes down clutching his face after a collision with Nicolas Otamendi

Messi goes down as the Barcelona star is crowded out by Chile midfielder Vidal and Jorge Valdívia
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Messi goes down as the Barcelona star is crowded out by Chile midfielder Vidal and Jorge Valdívia

The ever-animated Martino was left incredulous when referee Wilmar Roldan failed to award a penalty after Silva pulled Marcos Rojo to the ground inside the area.

And with the last kick of normal time, Higuain missed a glorious chance when he could only turn Lavezzi’s slightly overhit pass into the side netting after a rare solo run from Messi.

With legs tiring and tempers fraying, Marcelo Diaz curled an effort over the bar in extra-time before Sanchez took advantage of Javier Mascherano’s slip to scamper clear but, as a nation held its collective breath, the Arsenal forward failed to hit the target.
Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez hurdles the challenge of Otamendi as Chile pour forward on the attack
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Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez hurdles the challenge of Otamendi as Chile pour forward on the attack

Chile forward Vargas pulls his shorts and lets out a cry of frustration after missing a chance for the hosts
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Chile forward Vargas pulls his shorts and lets out a cry of frustration after missing a chance for the hosts

Four time Ballon d’Or winner Messi attempts to evade the challenge of Aranguiz, who keeps the Argentine in close quarters
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Four time Ballon d’Or winner Messi attempts to evade the challenge of Aranguiz, who keeps the Argentine in close quarters

A rousing rendition of the Chilean national anthem preceded the shoot-out with deafening whistles accompanying each Argentinian effort.

Messi made no mistake but his strike was rendered meaningless when Higuain fired high into the stand before Banega’s weak effort was comfortably saved by Bravo.

Vidal, who had squeezed home his own penalty, immediately broke rank and sprinted half the length of the pitch to congratulate his captain before returning to watch Sanchez finish the job.

And a ground that has witnessed such sorrow, smiled again.
Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo watches on as Argentina forward Sergio Aguero beats Medel to the ball and gets a header towards goal
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Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo watches on as Argentina forward Sergio Aguero beats Medel to the ball and gets a header towards goal

Medel goes down under the challenge of Aguero as the Manchester City striker snaps away at the Chilean during heated affair
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Medel goes down under the challenge of Aguero as the Manchester City striker snaps away at the Chilean during heated affair

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Chile fans pose for the camera ahead of the Copa America final against Argentina at the National Stadium in Santiago

The Argentina squad line up ahead of the match with Gerardo Martino’s side bidding to win the tournament for the first time since 1993
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The Argentina squad line up ahead of the match with Gerardo Martino’s side bidding to win the tournament for the first time since 1993

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Chilean players celebrate with the trophy of the 2015 Copa America football championship, in Santiago, Chile, on July 4, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PABLO PORCIUNCULAPABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images
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