Jorge Sampaoli proud of Chile side after winning Copa America
Last Updated: 05/07/15 3:58pm
Jorge Sampaoli said his Chile side fully deserved to claim the Copa America crown after beating Argentina on penalties in Santiago on Saturday.
After a goalless 120 minutes, Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez scored the winning penalty in the shoot-out, in which Lionel Messi was the only Argentina player to score.
And Argentine Sampaoli, who has transformed Chile since taking over as head coach two-and-a-half years ago, was a proud man after leading them to their first major honour in 22 years.
"We had to play a great game against one of the world's best teams for the quality of players. We should have won in 90 minutes, but ended up getting justice in a shootout," he said.
"From the first game, Chile were playing to win the Copa America. The team confronted and overcame rivals to win the Copa America through leadership, hard work and discipline."
"That is the merit of the players that I have fortune to train," added Sampaoli, who believes his side is capable of even better. Chile were knocked out in the last 16 of the World Cup last year.
"People are now starting to dream. We have done something great today and qualifying for the  World Cup will be Chile's next target," he said.
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino, who took over after the World Cup final defeat to Germany last year, insisted he would stick with the squad for the 2018 World Cup campaign despite more final heartbreak.
"Defeats like today are not going to change my analysis," said Martino. "Over the 120 minutes, it was a fairly equal game. But Argentina should have won.
"We tried everything. We had chances – Nico Otamendi, [Ezequiel] Lavezzi and of course [Gonzalo] Higuain at the end."
Higuain had a chance to score in injury time and then badly missed his penalty in the shoot-out.
Martino said: "They were very clear chances that should have changed the outcome of the game. For the next campaign we will continue insisting on the same ideas and on the pursuit of success."