Alexis Sanchez: We knew we'd win Copa America after the World Cup

The Arsenal star says that having their impressive World Cup campaign cut short last year is what inspired Chile to secure their first title this summer

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 beat Argentina 4-1 in a penalty shootout in Saturday’s final to end their 99-year wait for major international honours, with Sanchez securing the win with a chipped effort from 12 yards .

Having racked up 10 goals in an entertaining group stage, Chile showed the other side to their game in the knockout rounds, conceding just once in the last three matches.

Jorge Sampaoli’s high-intensity style also turned heads in Brazil last year as Chile eased through the group stage, beating then-holders Spain 2-0 as they finished behind Netherlands to proceed to the knockout rounds.

Despite falling to Brazil on penalties in the second 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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Cech must lose love for Chelsea, insists Lehmann


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Lehmann: Ozil needs to step up for Arsenal in big games

The Germany international was praised for his improved performances last season but the former Gunners goalkeeper insists his countryman needs to become even more influential


Mesut Ozil needs to improve his performances for Arsenal in big games, according to former goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

Ozil joined Arsenal from Real Madrid two seasons ago and, despite flattering to deceive in his debut campaign at the Emirates Stadium, gained plaudits for adapting to the rigours of Premier League life in 2014-15.

The Germany international, acquired for €50 million, scored five goals and provided nine assists last season, but Lehmann insists that the 26-year-old must start stamping his authority on high-profile matches.  

“Everyone knows he can be a fantastic player. But you need to be a fantastic player in the big games,” Lehmann told The Sun. “You don’t need to be a fantastic player in the small games and mediocre player in the big games.

“He can definitely do that but now he must prove it. You need to know how to think and how to programme yourself.

“Of course he can improve. You can’t get better on the day that you retire from football – but you can every day before that.”

Arsenal have won consecutive FA Cups since Ozil’s arrival, with the midfielder featuring in both final victories, over Hull City and Aston Villa.

Galatasaray complete Podolski signing

The Germany international has left Arsenal permanently to join the Turkish champions after a three-year spell with the Gunners in the Premier League

Galatasaray have completed the signing of Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski on a three-year deal.

“Galatasaray also made proposals in the past year,” Podolski said. “But this year there was more intense interest. My parents wanted me to come here.

“Galatasaray were champions last year. We will play to be champions in the coming years, we’re looking to get to the next level.

“I’ve followed Galatasaray for a long time. I know there’s a great atmosphere in the stadium.

“Galatasaray fans have given me so much attention and are excited about me. This is a big factor in my decision-making.”

More to follow…

'Chelsea the team to beat in Premier League' – Neville

Despite their title rivals all strengthening, Jose Mourinho & Co. remain favourites to win the title again next season, according to the former Manchester United defender


Gary Neville says Chelsea are favourites for the Premier League title this season.

Jose Mourinho’s side finished the previous campaign eight points clear of Manchester City to be crowned champions for the first time since 2010 and have since signed Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan.

Chelsea’s rivals have been busy in the transfer market, with Petr Cech moving to Arsenal, Manchester United signing Memphis Depay and Liverpool making six new signings, including Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings.

However, Neville cannot see past Mourinho’s men, though admits the transfer window could yet change matters with the season start still five weeks away.

“We’re in July when teams haven’t completed their business yet; that’s something I think you’ve got to be very careful about at this stage,” he told Sky Sports News.

“But as I stand here today, I think it would be very difficult to look to past Chelsea. However, who knows what is going to happen in the next month in terms of signings and how those signings will then come in and adapt.

“Things can always happen and you could look at a team in a month’s time and think ‘they’re going to take some stopping with the people they’ve signed’, we haven’t seen the transfer market flush itself out yet.

“But certainly now, without the business having been done, you aren’t as informed as you’d like to be, but Chelsea would be the team to beat and I think everyone would say that.”