1) Biggest winner: Chile
Not only did Chile soundly defeat Panama to advance to the knockout stages of the Copa America to defend their title, but they found their scoring touch along the way. To be fair, they did beat Panama, but considering that Panama gave Chile a shock with an early goal and made it interesting late in the game, this can be considered a big win. Also, Chile’s wonder boy Alexis Sánchez found the back of the net for the first and second time in this Copa America, and it will be crucial for Chile to have him in good spirits going forward. This can be a big mental boost for Chile, and they will need it, as they now face off against a tough Mexico squad that is trying to keep their unbeaten streak alive.
2) Standout performer: Alexis Sánchez (Chile)
As mentioned above, Chile’s Alexis Sánchez really got the monkey off his back by scoring a golazo to give Chile a 3-1 lead and that must have given him the confidence to score another goal to secure the 4-2 win against Panama. Many see Sánchez as the catalyst that can propel the Chileans deep into the tournament, and as defending champions they should be chomping at the bit to go back-to-back as Copa America champions. With this performance, he showed the rest of the teams in the knockout rounds that Chile is no pushover and they are ready to defend their title.
3) Biggest loser: Bolivia
Poor Bolivia, they stood no chance against the well-oiled machine that is Argentina. Getting scored on three times in the first half was bad, and they can thank their lucky stars that Messi, who went in as a second half sub, didn’t put up seven more on them. They will finish the Copa America with no wins, losing by one goal to Chile and Panama before eventually getting drubbed by Messi and company. Then they will suffer the indignity of being back in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualification, in which they only have three points out of six games played. Ouch.
4) Best tweet:
This is hilarious.. The Bolivian #4 just follows Messi around everywhere. There is an 80% chance he’s already asked Messi for his jersey.
— herculez gomez (@herculezg) June 15, 2016
5) Biggest surprise: That Messi Didn’t Score
Come on, Messi. After coming on a sub against Panama, and scoring three goals in less than 20 minutes, one would think that Messi would light up the score against Bolivia. But that was not the case this game, as Messi came into the game to a roaring applause from the fans in Seattle. After that grand entrance, Messi was close on various occasions to scoring a goal and delighting the crowd on hand, but he did not find the back of the net today. Surely, a bit of a disappointment for anyone who came to see if Messi would add on to his goal total.
6) Worst moment: Claudio Bravo’s Howlers
Claudio Bravo is usually rock solid and he is one of the best goalkeepers in the game no doubt, but today he had a rough going as he let in not one, but two soft goals against Panama. The first goal was difficult to stop as the ball knuckled it’s way into goal, but still, you have to believe that Bravo usually gets those under control and you can bet that he would like to have that one back. And the other goal he let in? Yeah … about that …
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 15, 2016
7) Best goal: Alexis Sánchez (Chile)
What a laser shot by Sánchez. Surprised he didn’t rip a hole in the net of how hard he hit that one. Golazo!
8) Extra time:
A day that was lacking in surprises, but was full on goals as there were eight goals scored in total today so the fans got their money’s worth today. Also, now we know who will face-off against each other in the knockout stages so, I don’t know about you guys, but I cannot wait to see how these great teams will fare under do or die circumstances. The matchup to watch besides the USMNT? My vote is for the Mexico/Chile game, it seems like it’s going to be amazing.
9) Thursday’s game:
There will be no game played on Wednesday, but the Euros will fill the void that Copa America leaves for a day until the game United States fans has been waiting for. It will be the USMNT against speedy Ecuador from Seattle at 9:30 p.m. ET. Make sure you guys in the East Coast stay awake for this one as it will be a fantastic matchup and the question will be: Can the United States advance to the semis?