Chile have booked their ticket to Saint Petersburg as Confederations Cup finalists, after convincingly beating Portugal 3-0 on penalties.Embed from Getty Images
The first half ended level with no goals, and expected tactics were displayed by Chile and Portugal.
Out of possession Portugal focused on their defensive structure, limiting space between their midfield and defensive line, and playing with a narrow midfield line in these situations. Whenever the opportunity was available Fernando Santos’ men counter attacked, mainly through Cristiano Ronaldo down the left flank. Whereas, La Roja retained possession going forward as they patiently attempted to unlock Portugal’s defence.
The first ten minutes of the half were breathtakingly open, as it consisted of end to end attacking. During this period, Rui Patricio and Claudio Bravo each saved clear-cut chances. Within five minutes Patricio was tested, when he got down quickly to save an indecisive shot inside the box from Eduardo Vargas, supplied by an Alexis Sanchez through ball. Bravo reacted equally as quickly to save Andre Silva’s attempted far post tap in from Ronaldo’s deep cross.
In the second half, the goalless deadlock was not broken, however, both teams pushed forward seeking a winning goal.
Chile created better goalscoring chances, most notably through Arturo Vidal and Vargas respectively. On the 53 minute mark, Vidal missed a free header from Jean Beausejour’s in swinging cross. Three minutes later, Vargas had a brilliantly improvised scissors kick saved by a stretching Patricio. Ronaldo was determined to change the result as he was Portugal’s main threat in the half, coming closest to scoring a winner with six minutes of regulation time remaining as the Portuguese captain headed narrowly wide of the post from an early Cedric cross.Embed from Getty Images
A Selecção dominated a majority of extra time, retaining possession as they visibly had more players with fresher legs. However, the second half ended electrically as Chile intensely attacked with hunger.
Sanchez missed the best chance of the extra time first half, his free header in the box from Mauricio Isla’s pinpoint accurate cross, travelling inches wide of the post.Embed from Getty Images
However, the cliché ‘the best is saved for last’ was a reality, as within the final two minutes of extra time Vidal’s long shot hit the post, substitute Martin Rodriguez’s rebound strike bounced off the bar and Sanchez’s shot, created by his driving run into Portugal’s box, was crucially blocked by Jose Fonte.
Regulation time, goalless. Stoppage time, goalless. Extra time, goalless. Therefore, the match was decided on penalties. Bravo had a perfect shootout as he saved all of Portugal’s penalties, unsuccessfully taken by Quaresma, Moutinho and Nani, meaning Vidal, Aranguiz and Sanchez’s respective converted penalties were enough to ensure La Roja advance to the final.
Chile will contest the final against either World Champions Germany or Gold Cup champions Mexico, with the thought of both potential games being appealing.