In group D, Panama won a hard fought match against Bolivia 2-1, and Chile just didn’t have enough to stop Argentina, who also won 2-1.
Panama started their game by putting Bolivia under a lot of pressure, and they were rewarded when Blas Perez found the back of the net for Panama’s first ever Copa America goal. Bolivia responded well, immediately putting pressure on Panama’s goal. The game went back and forth, but Bolivia were having better chances and better play overall until Juan Carlos Arce scored off of a set piece to equalize. Both teams gave it their all from that point on, trading shot for shot.
If you need proof of how even the teams were, look at the match stats. Possession was 51-49 in favor of Panama, shots were 15-12 again in favor of Panama, Panama had 21 fouls to Bolivia’s 22, and each team had six corner kicks. Panama was slightly better in most stats, but as the game went down to the wire, it was anybody’s game to win. Then in the 87th minute, a run from Abdiel Arroyo set up a chance for him to assist Blas Perez, who smashed it home to seal the win for Panama in one of the best games of the tournament so far.
Blas Perez’s brace put Panama past Bolivia in Group D’s opening matchup
Unfortunately for both teams, the games remaining are against tournament favorites Argentina and Chile, so neither is likely to win any more points.
Chile and Argentina looked like an epic battle waiting to happen, and their match did not disappoint. The first half was end-to-end from the first minute to the 45th. Neither team gave the other any space, and both looked dangerous on the counter. Argentina seemed poised to score first, but then the momentum shifted and Chile had all of the chances from the 25th minute until the 40th minute. But like Argentina, they were unable to find that critical final pass, or clinical finish, and the game went into halftime 0-0. Both teams worked exceptionally hard for the entire half, and despite the 0-0 scoring, it was one of the most entertaining halves of the Copa America.
Argentina came out of halftime determined to put on a show, and they dazzled the crowd. Just six miuntes into the second half, Ever Banega won the ball from Charles Aranguiz, and immediately put Angel Di Maria through on goal. Di Maria slowed down and measured his shot, before smashing the ball near post past Claudio Bravo. The goal was an emotional one for Di Maria, who’s grandmother passed away hours before the match. While celebrating it, Di Maria held up a shirt that read “Abuela te voy a extranar muchisimo,” meaning grandmother I will miss you so much.
Di Maria scored for his late grandmother. He was in tears after the game when asked about the goal.
Chile, desperately trying not to be outdone, kept pushing on, but Argentina proved to be a class above them. Eight minutes after the first goal, Banega made an almost identical run as Di Maria had, but took aim at the far post. His shot was deflected by Mauricio Isla, but the deflection put it in the near post past Bravo.
Chile never gave up on the game, and got a consolation goal deep into added time. Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who had a good game overall, almost inexplicably came off his line to punch away a free kick that he had no hope of reaching. This left the goal wide open for Jose Funzalida, who got on the end of the cross and gave Chile a much-deserved goal.
While Chile gave it their all, Argentina were on another level. And Lionel Messi spent the whole game on the bench. If they play like this the rest of the way, no one is going to beat them. It’s as simple as that.
Chile take a tough loss, but played more than well enough to beat most of the teams in the tounrament, including the other teams in their group. They should have no trouble against Bolivia in their next game, nor against Panama after that, if they keep up this level of play.
Again, much thanks to Reddit user u/Omar_Til_Death for being the best at GIFs. He provided all of the linked GIFs and the Di Maria photo.