Penalty hero Alexis Sanchez has claimed Chile’s belief that drove them to Copa America success stems all the way back to last year’s World Cup.
The tournament hosts prevailed 4-1 in a penalty shootout against Argentina on Saturday to end their 99-year wait for major international honours, Sanchez rounding off the win with a dinked effort from 12 yards.
Having racked up 10 goals in an entertaining group campaign, Chile showed the other side to their game in the knockout rounds, conceding just once in three matches.
Jorge Sampaoli’s high-intensity style also turned heads in Brazil last year as Chile eliminated then-holders Spain with a 2-0 Group B win in Rio de Janeiro.
Despite falling to Brazil on penalties in the next round, Sanchez believes their exploits 12 months ago provided the perfect platform to secure glory in front of their own fans.
“We talked about it in Brazil that we were going to win the Copa America,” Sanchez said.
“This is really a great generation, we deserve this.”
Chile forward Eduardo Vargas ended the tournament as joint top scorer with Peru’s Paolo Guerrero and echoed Sanchez’s belief that success was well-earned.
He added: “It is a very important achievement for me, now I will enjoy it and hopefully we can continue on the path we are on.
“It was an extra-special tournament, because we were champions. Not to detract from the other teams, because they also did things right.
“It is very special. To beat our rivals leaves more content, but mostly because we won at home.”
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