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International memories: Bravo's Chile triumph

ON TOP OF THE WORLD: Claudio Bravo was the first Chilean to lift the Copa America.

ON TOP OF THE WORLD: Claudio Bravo was the first Chilean to lift the Copa America.

No fewer than 13 of Pep Guardiola’s squad received the call to represent their country during the latest international break.

Man City players have enjoyed some brilliant moments at international level and this week we’ll be recounting the occasions when our boys turned it on as the world was watching.

We start with Claudio Bravo’s exploits during the 2015 Copa America…

A nation expects...

A man of the match performance in the final of the 2016 tournament could easily been the focus of this piece, but for significance it had to be 2015.

Having surpassed Leonel Sanchez as Chile’s most capped player the previous year, Bravo entered the tournament as one of La Rioja’s leading lights after an impressive showing at the 2014 World Cup.

Chile were well fancied too, and as the host nation, there was an expectation that the captain would lead what was widely regarded as the country’s finest squad to their first Copa title.

Route to the final...

An ever present throughout, Bravo kept clean sheets in three of the five games on the way to the final, earning him a spot in team of the tournament.

He was at his best to deny Fidel Martinez against Ecuador in the tournament opener, before a fingertip save from Gerardo Flores ensured the hosts salvaged a point from a disappointing performance against Mexico.

As the world watched...

History was there to be made as Bravo’s Chile – participants in every Copa since its 1916 debut – sought to end a 99 year wait to lift the trophy against Argentina.

Despite failing to produce a goal in 120 minutes, the showpiece game was fascinating and at times frantic.

The ‘keeper played his part, denying future teammate Sergio Aguero from point blank range after the City forward headed Messi‘s free kick towards goal, before beating away Ezequiel Lavezzi’s drive as La Albiceleste caught the hosts on the break.

He might have also claimed an assist had Alexis Sanchez not blazed over after Bravo's long throw evaded the Argentina defence and set the Arsenal man free.

His moment would come during the penalty shoot-out. Going the right way, he couldn’t stop Messi from scoring, but Gonzalo Higuain had already blazed over when Ever Banega stepped up.

It was a tired strike from the then Sevilla midfielder, but Bravo still had to guess right, which he did, to the delight of the home fans at the Estadio Nacional.

Sanchez made no mistake from the spot and the tournament's Golden Glove winner became the first Chilean to loft the Copa America trophy triumphantly above his head.

In his own words...

"I always dreamed of lifting the Copa one day. It was the moment. We had to leave the negative history behind. This is dedicated to all Chileans.

“I told my team-mates that they would miss two penalties and we were going to win.”


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