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.”