Chile set up a repeat of last year’s Copa America final after beating Colombia 2-0 in Chicago.
After Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to a 4-0 win over the United States the previous night, goals from Charles Aranguiz and Jose Pedro Fuenzalida helped Chile to a semi-final win over the Colombians.
Jose Pekerman’s team were looking for James Rodriguez to lead them to victory but instead of shining, the Real Madrid man was made to look a fool by Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.
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During a Chile attack in the first-half, Sanchez was approached by James as the Colombian attempted to retrieve the ball.
But Sanchez, well-known for his physical style, was having none of it, performing an American football-style stiff arm and sending James to the floor.
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Sanchez bullies James
Sanchez has probably put James off moving to the Premier League any time soon. Although he’s not known for being the strongest of players, Pekerman was probably hoping for a little more resistance from his star man.
Especially considering the score was 2-0 at the time, and Chile were threatening to add a third. Get in the gym, James.
A thunderstorm meant the second half was delayed by nearly three hours but that didn’t affect Chile’s form. Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side scored two goals inside 11 minutes and the game was over when Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the 57th minute.
Chile now have the opportunity to win the Copa America in back-to-back years. However, they will take on an Argentina side with a score to settle following last year’s penalty shootout defeat.
Pizzi praised his "winners"
Pizzi was full of praise for his players after the win.
"This is a group of winners. The main virtue for these players is they are winners," former Spain international Pizzi said, per FourFourTwo.
"Before a game or a tournament, they are convinced they are going to win. This conviction allows them to play how they play and have the confidence they have in games.
"To be a winner does not mean you win every game, because that is impossible, and you're always going to lose a few games.
"To be a winner is to believe you are going to win every game, and that's what my players have."
But where Pizzi was delighted, his counterpart was furious.
After the game, Pekerman slammed referee Joel Aguilar for what he feels were “certain injustices”.
“We have to remember that our bad start cost us two goals, but throughout the game there were many accidents and none of them favoured us," the Argentine said, per FourFourTwo.
"In that sense, I feel that [the referee] committed certain injustices."
"The referee lacked management and direction. He failed to understand the importance of the game, and he had a lot to do with what we saw at the end of it."