- Chile successfully defend Copa America title.
- La Roja's Golden generation boasts Bundesliga influence.
- Vargas clinches Golden Boot with six-goal tally.
Two years, two titles. Lionel Messi's retirement from international football may have stolen their thunder in the press, but for Chile's Bundesliga trio of Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Eduardo Vargas, little will detract from their nations' historic victory at Copa America Centenario.
"It's a wonderful moment," said FC Bayern München's midfield enforcer Vidal after Chile's dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Argentina at the MetLife stadium in New Jersey. "All of our hard work and all of the sacrifices we've made have all been rewarded."
La banda pitillo por✌️👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/pEOrxXD5PN— Arturo Vidal (@kingarturo23) June 27, 2016
La Roja's so-called 'Golden Generation' have received widespread praise having emerged from obscurity to be regarded amongst the world's elite in the space of a decade. It has been a remarkable rise which has culminated in back-to-back wins at the Copa America, an unprecedented feat.
Vargas provides the finishing touches
Pivotal to both of those title wins, a well-documented triumvirate of stars from Germany's top flight. Hoffenheim's Vargas clinched the Golden Boot in both tournaments and has scored a goal every 95 minutes on average at the Copa America finals - a record that would make even the aforementioned Messi stand up and take notice.
"We’re conscious that we are a historic team for Chile," said Vargas, who could not add to his six-goal tally in the hard-fought final. "The teams were very evenly-matched. Argentina had more of the ball, but we were better going forward with it. With the quality they have, you can never let your concentration drop. I’ve been fortunate to be part of this team."
Pillars of strength in midfield, Vidal and Aranguiz provided the foundation for the fast-paced front three to exact damage on their opponents' backline, most notably in their jaw-dropping 7-0 thrashing of Mexico. Bayern's superstar midfielder may have missed the semi-final through suspension and seen his penalty saved in the shootout on Sunday evening, but his impact on Chile's success was nonetheless diminished with Argentina's Ever Banega the only midfielder to boast more touches at the tournament.
Chile's triumphant trio will have greatly contrasting agendas when they return to domestic affairs in Germany's top tier. There's no doubting, however, that their sides' will be better off for them having enjoyed a successful summer and, with their confidence sky high, it will be well worth keeping a close eye on Chile's Copa America heroes in the 2016/17 campaign.