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Copa America is a South American football competition where the teams play for their greatness. The tournament is famous for producing all-action games with goals, drama and close competitions. The tournament was started way back in 1916. There are some 43 editions of Copa America have already taken place. Along the way of about 100 years, there have been some unforgettable encounters between the South American nations.
Here we will provide you with the top 10 greatest matches in Copa America. From unexpected shock to enormous goal fests, we revisit some of the closest as well as greatest encounters in the history of Copa America.
10 Greatest Matches in Copa America:
10. Chile 4-0 Brazil, 1987
Chile were heading into their group decider in a match against Brazil. For the Chileans, there was nothing less than victory would suffice if they were to advance to the semi-finals of Copa America. That was followed by the most historic performance ever produced by the Chile national team. The Brazil team, featuring Rai, Muller and Careca had dominated the first-half of the game. It was none but the Chile goal-keeper Roberto Rojas, who resisted the mighty Brazilians. Just before the break, Ivo Basay scored which nodded the underdogs ahead of the game.
Then the minors did not look back. Juan Carlos Letelier doubled the lead and then Basay headed to score from a corner in his second. After that, again Letelier put a real gloss on the score line with a delightful forth in Brazil’s net. The historic match is considered in the top 10 greatest matches in Copa America.
9. Argentina (2) 2-2 (4) Brazil, 1995
Brazil had a breathless opening when Edmundo and Abel Balbo scored two early goals in the match. Just before the half-time, Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta edged Argentina back in front after smashing the ball in from a tight angle. There was a controversial twist to come when, Tulio clipped home an equalizer goal following a blatant hand ball, with nine minutes remaining of the game. Brazil went on to prevail the match, when captain Dunga converting the winning penalty-kick.
8. Brazil 3-2 Mexico, 1997
With both teams having won their first game in 1997 Copa, the match was a battle for Group C supremacy in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Mexico striker Luis Hernandez had put El tri two goals ahead by a thumping header and a close range finish. The Brazilian center-back Aldair inspired his side’s fight back with a header of his own just two minutes within the second half of the game. Very soon, the equalizer came when Mexican defender, Camilo Romero diverted Romario’s goal bound effort into the roof of his own net.
The hapless Mexican defender was again proved wrong for the Brazil’s third goal, when Leonardo robbed the ball from him on the touchline and could only watch on as the left-footer surged into the box before unleashing a wonderful winning goal.
7. Colombia 2-3 Chile, 1999
It was a quarter-final showdown match in Paraguay. The fate of that crucial match was swinging back and forth before it was finally decided by one of Chile’s great footballers of all-time. Jorge Bolano of Colombia crashed with an opener from the edge of the box early on. Pedro Reyes immediately leveled the score with an unchallenged header from a sharp corner. By the interval, the Colombians were back in the game as Victor Bonilla took advantage of some sloppy Mexican defense.
But, it was Pedro Reyes who restored the parity five minutes in the second part with another amazing header. The Chilean captain Ivan Zamorano eventually settled the contest, latching on to a long-ball expertly to take his team into the semi-finals of 1999 Copa America. The match is ranked at no 7 in our list of top 10 greatest matches in Copa America.
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6. Peru (2) 3-3 (4) Mexico, 1999
It was another thrilling quarter-final clash from the 1999 Copa America, where Mexico eventually squeezed past Peru on penalty shoot-out. The first half of the game was unrelenting as both teams shared a total five goals. Peru made a dream start with José Pereda and Roberto Palacios who put them two up inside a quarter mark of an hour. The Mexican striker Luis Hernandez hauled his side back on terms with a well taken double to level the score.
However, Peru got the lead as Nolberto Solano curled the ball from just outside the box. Just three minutes remaining at the clock, Gererdo Torrado’s long-ranger flew into the Peru’s net for an equalizer. Then when the penalty shoot-out took place, the Mexicans held their nerve from spot, scoring four out of four as Peru crashed out in a 2-4 defeat.
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5. Brazil 0-2 Honduras, 2001
Arguably, the match was the biggest upset in the history of Copa America. The mighty Brazil stumped by the minnow Honduras in a shameful way. Although Brazil team were devoid of some star players, Cafu, Roberto Carlos and Romario, there was hardly anyone who could foresee such a result as Honduras defeated Brazil in a giant-killer show that night. After finishing a goal-less first half, Honduras bounced the Brazilian net when Juliano Belletti deflected a Saul Martinez header into his own net on 57th minutes.
Brazil found their miserable end when Martinez coolly slotted home at death to seal a 0-2 victory. Brazil’s unexpected defeat sent a shock wave throughout South American football. Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Brazil coach, commented afterwards,
“I, Big Phil, will go down in history of football as the Brazil coach who lost to Honduras. It’s a horrible night for me but Honduras played better than our boys and they deserved the victory”
4. Argentina (2) 2-2 (4) Brazil, 2004
The 2004 Copa America in Peru saw a classic climax as the rivals Argentina and Brazil squared up for the first time in a one-off final showdown in the history of Copa America. The game took the breath away in every seconds until the final whistle of the match. Argentina led the score when Kily Gonzalez scored from a penalty after a foul by Luisão. The big Brazilian defender immediately revenged with a header on the stroke of half-time.
Argentina’s Cesar Delgado looked to have won it when he fired past Julio Cesar with just three minutes remaining of the game. The fate was yet to be decided when the top scorer Adriano rifled home with a level in the injury-time of the match. At the penalty shoot-out Argentina broke their nerves in a 2-4 defeat to Brazil. The closest encounter of that match put it on the list of top 10 greatest matches in Copa America.
3. Chile 1-6 Brazil, 2007
After losing to Brazil by 3-0 in the group stage, Chile were out for revenge in the quarter-final clash. The strategy went wrong for the Chileans as the Brazilians turned in their best performance on the way to grab their fourth titles in last five tournaments. Brazil led the score by 3-0 within the first half as Juan, Julio Baptista and Robinho scored one by another. Just after the break, Robinho striked again while Josue and Wagner Love added two more. Humberto Suazo scored from a delicate chip as a consolation when it was way too late.
2. Uruguay (4) 2-2 (5) Brazil, 2007
The match is regarded as an unforgettable semi-final match in the history of Copa America. The match was heart throbbing in every point of view. Brazilian full-back Maicon stabbed a rebound to put Brazil ahead, but the lead was wiped out when Diego Forlan fired the ball into the net. On 40th minutes of the game, Julio Baptista bundled home an awesome free-kick.
Uruguayan striker Sebastian Abreu scored an equalizer to take the game to penalties. Brazil seized the moment in the close penalty shoot-out as Gilberto coolly netted the ball between the Uruguayan posts.
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1. Argentina (4) 1-1 (5) Uruguay, 2011
This time, Uruguay didn’t disappoint their fans in shoot-out. There may have been only two goals, but the match contained almost everything else. Uruguay’s Diego Perez opened the scoring on five minutes from a close range and then collecting himself two yellow cards before sending off the pitch. Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain had responded promptly by glancing in a Lionel Messi cross.
And then numerous chances were created from both sides with great goalkeeping performances. Ultimately, the match went down on penalty shoot-out where Carlos Tevez proved the fall guy for the Argentines, missing his side’s only effort, which allowed Martin Caceres to score the final goal in deciding the fate of that breathtaking match.