The Copa América, tournament formerly known as the South American Football Championship, is the oldest international continental football competition. Since 1993, the tournament has generally featured 12 teams until in 2016 where 16 teams participated to make the Copa América Centenario. The tournament which is regarded as one of the most prestigious and widely viewed sporting events all around the world was first hosted by Argentina in 1916 and holds the record of being the country to have hosted the tournament most times, having hosted it nine times.
Only few will remember the USA vs. Columbia match which preceded the finals of the COPA America 2016 finals, not because it was an ordinary match, rather because the glitz and glamour that came with Chile lifting the tournament’s award and Messi’s announcement to retire were overwhelming.
While this is Chile’s second consecutive win of the trophy, they are still miles away from Uruguay National team that has won it 15 times. It is also amazing that all Copa América tournaments held in Brazil and Uruguay have been won by the host nation.
The 16 teams that participated in the 2016 tournament were Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, United States and Venezuela. This year’s tournament is over but the recipients of the awards still have so much to celebrate.
The Golden Boot was awarded to the top scorer Eduardo Vargas. The 26 years old forward was born in Santiago, Chile on November 20,1989, 5’9″ tall and currently plays for Hoffenheim. He scored 6 goals for his country – Chile.
On the scorer’s list, he was followed closely by Argentine’s Lionel Messi with 5 goals and Gonzalo Higuain 4 goals.
The Golden Ball award was presented to 27 years old ALEXIS SÁNCHEZ, as the Most Valuable Player. He was born December 19, 1988 in Tocopilla, Chile and currently plays for Arsenal Football Club.
Chile’s 33-year old goalkeeper Claudio Bravo won the Golden Glove, for the second straight Copa America. He recorded 13 saves in six matches, with shutouts in the three knockout stage games, and made a key save in the shootout in Sunday’s final.
In all, the Tournament’s Best XI in defence are Claudio Bravo- Chile’s Goalkeeper, Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel, Jean Beausejour, and Argentina’s Nicolás Otamendi. For the Midfielders, Argentina’s Javier Mascherano, Chile’s Arturo Vidal and Charles Aránguiz, while Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Chile’s Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sánchez were credited with the best forward performances.
Though Chile earned the most percentage of the prize money, taking home $6.5 million; other quarter-finalists also received a huge sums. Argentina received $3.5 million, Colombia- $3 million and the United States- $2.5 million.
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