A tournament played with the heart

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When the body fails, the heart gives the players the strength to continue fighting. A modern history and an old one that shows how exciting the CONMEBOL Copa América is. 

Francisco Silva does not know where to direct his gaze. Up, to the rival goalkeeper, to the ball… Even so, he seems focused and confident. Tired obviously after 120 minutes of game.

It should be noted that, he would give the CONMEBOL Copa América Centenario title to his team, Chile, and the bicampeonato in the tournament.

He accommodates the ball in the penalty spot, eight steps back and a snort, in the midfield, his teammates embrace expectantly. The rivals too. In addition to the suspense of the situation, the Brazilian referee Heber Lopes tells Claudio Bravo to make it to the other side of the arc. The goalkeeper delays the throw. But he is allowed, and the Chileans do not reproach him. How to do it if he had just cut the fourth charge to an exhausted Lucas Biglia?

In front, the Argentine Sergio ‘Chiquito’ Romero hoped to cut that penalty, just as he did to Arturo Vidal in the first round of the shootout at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Finally, Bravo arrives at the other sector of the area, and Lopes authorizes the ball. One last look at the arc to confirm where he was going to send the ball. Cross ball to his left, Romero flies to the opposite stick. The ball enters and Chile is a two-time champion of America.

A definition of this title that was played for the first time with 20 men after the expulsion of Marcelo Díaz and Marcos Rojo, but unique and unrepeatable, as each of the competition.

Since the beginning of the Cup, the matches are played with the heart. When the legs and the body fail, that important organ of the body indicates that it must continue. There is no space to pay attention to the mind and surrendering is not an option, as each player carries the responsibility of representing his entire country.

A final match of the Cup with 150 minutes played

In 1919, the 2-2 between Brazil and Uruguay left tied the South American Football Championship.  The teams “canarinha” and the “celeste” would meet precisely in a new match to define the title.

The chronicle of the game written by the Brazilian historian Thommaz Mazzoni tells that Brazil was paralyzed. The government decreed the suspension of all activities. Banks and commerce closed their premises. The whole country was going to be able to enjoy the game.

After the regulation time and a 0-0 on the scoreboard, the extra time should be played: two times of 30 minutes each! Something unthinkable in today’s football, but something that occurred at the beginning of the Copa América.

Exhausted and without any energy, Brazilians and Uruguayans faced the extra time with gallantry and heart. Just started the second overtime, when Arthur Friedenreich with a shot to the arc mixed with a weak rejection of the goalkeeper Cayetano Saporiti, enough to give the long-suffering title to Brazil, which set to vibrate not only the 26.000 people in Laranjeiras stadium, but a whole country.

In the last 28 minutes of the match both teams left everything on the field, but it was finally Brazil who lifted the title, exactly 100 years ago.

The CONMEBOL Copa América is a tournament that is played with the heart. The whole continent will vibrate, but only one country will retain the title. Are you ready to enjoy the oldest tournament of selections in the world?

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