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The Copa America is over and Claudio Bravo has captained Chile to the second title in a row, beating Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano’s Argentina on penalties after the final had ended scoreless after 120 minutes.
The Barça keeper was one of the heroes of La Roja’s performance, making a spectacular save in extra time and then denying Lucas Biglia in the shootout to clinch the special centenary edition of the oldest international tournament in world football.
Now it’s all over, it’s time to look back at how the four FC Barcelona players that travelled to the United States fared:
The Chilean played every game for the champions, and only let in five goals (0.83 per game). He may not have been at his best against Panama, but he was outstanding in the knockout stage with nothing but clean sheets from the quarter finals onwards (7-0 v Mexico, 2-0 v Colombia and 0-0 v Argentina). Bravo saved 70% of the shots against him and all told it was enough to win him the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper in the competition.
The best player in the world was outstanding at the Copa America. He appeared for 374 minutes in five games after sitting out his side’s debut against Chile. But he soon put his injury niggles behind him to score five goals, including a stunning hat-trick against Panama in less than half an hour after coming on as substitute. His two goals from free-kicks produced admiring gasps all around the planet, one against Panama and the other in the semi-final against the hosts USA.
Messi collected three MVP awards, and also provided four assists in the competition. He was the main reason Argentina lived up to all the hype and made it all the way to the final, although sadly from him, a first major senior international title was not to be.
The other Barça star in Tata Martino’s squad played 480 minutes of five games. Mascherano was the midfield general of the team, and also dropped back to provide crucial support in defence as well as helping out in attack. He won 38 balls in the competition, almost eight per game, and saw a massive 339 of his passes completed, just short of 70%. He scored his penalty in the shootout against Chile, but that was not enough to clinch his team the title.
The Uruguayan travelled to the US carrying an injury sustained in the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla. With his side trailing 1-0 to Venezuela and headed for an early exit from the competition, the Barça striker was not risked. That was the end of the Uruguayan challenge, with Suárez not having played and left to dwell on what might have been.
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