Saturday, July 8, 2017

Copa America-Part 4 (1991)

The 1991 edition of the Copa America took place in Chile (during their winter) one year after the 1990 World Cup. Following the World Cup a wind of change had taken over the Managerships of the South American Nations, intent on renewing their fortunes. In fact for the participating Nations of Conmebol only Ecuador had still retained its Manager from the 1989 Edition (The Yugoslav Dusan Draskovic).
Since July was the rainy season in Chile, they had originally suggested the Tournament to be staged in August or September but Conmebol refused this request.


Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 31, August 1991 

For the host Nation Chile, this Copa America took special significance and they had much riding on it. Chile were barred from participating in the 1994 World Cup (following the firecracker incident at Rio involving goalkeeper and Captain Roberto Rojas).
Therefore, their objective was two-fold. First, this would be their only competitive Tournament for many years to come and they had to make a positive impression especially in front of the home fans.
The second (more ambitious) objective was to win this Tournament with the hope that FIFA might reverse its decision. They were hoping with a victory, FIFA would find it hard to ban the best Team in South America from the World Cup. Former star Carlos Caszely was one of the prominent people hoping for this outcome.
Following the departure of Orlando Aravena following the Rio incident, former Colo Colo Manager Arturo Salah was handed the reins on September 1990.




Photo From: Historia de la Copa America


Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 2, Issue 11, November 1991
(The Copa America trophy)


He had a reputation of being a strict disciplinarian with no sense of humor.
Shortly before the Tournament, Chilean Club Colo Colo had been victorious in the Copa Libertadores and that only increased expectations.
Along with the Colo Colo contingent, Salah had a number of foreign-based players to call upon none more lethal than the Sevilla based Ivan Zamorano and others such as Hugo Rubio (St Gallen), Jaime Vera (OFI Crete) and Ivo Basay (Necaxa).
For Brazil as well much had changed since the 1989 triumph. Sebastião Lazaroni had left his post and was managing in Italy (in Fiorentina) amid all the predictable criticism following Brazil’s elimination at the World Cup.
The man assigned to lead Brazil to new glories was former AS Roma midfielder and 1982 World Cup standout Paulo Roberto Falcao.



Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 31, August 1991
(Opening Ceremony)



Photo From: Historia de la Copa America
(Opening Ceremony)


Photo From: Deporte Total, July 17, 1991
(Opening Ceremony)


He had selected many home-based players in his attempt to win back the public, but his results had mostly been mediocre.
He was attempting to build a team around new Captain and Corinthians midfielder Jose Neto.
Many of the foreign-based players were discarded and or refused to participate.
These included the likes of Antonio Careca (Napoli), Romario (PSV Eindhoven) and Julio Cesar (Juventus).
There was a specter of negativity around the Brazil side following the disappointment of the World Cup with many negative stories regarding the behavior and lack of professionalism of some of the players involved during the World Cup.
As a result, the Brazilian players were forced by their Federation to sign a written declaration for a set of directives, such as conduct themselves with ‘exemplary behavior’, wake and sleep at the designated hours and eat whatever told and ask permission for interviews and no meetings with agents/impresarios.
On July 3rd, just days before the start of the Tournament, the 1989 Copa America star Bebeto walked out of the team as he was fed up with Falcao, who would not guarantee him a position in the Team. Furthermore, Bebeto accused Falcao of treating him like a newcomer instead of an established player that he had become.
In the end, Falcao took along only a handful of players from abroad: goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel (Parma), Iomar Mazinho (Lecce and on his way to Fiorentina), Claudio Branco (Genoa) and Joao Paulo (Bari).

After eight years of Carlos Bilardo, Argentina’s man in charge was Alfio Basile. In contrast to his predecessor, Basile advocated a more attacking adventurous style of play.
He had built a solid team from scratch in friendlies with many newcomers such as Dario Franco, Nestor Craviotto, Claudio Garcia, Leonardo Astrada and Diego Simeone among others.
The squad had recently been on Tour in Europe and had participated in the ‘England Challenge Cup’ and left a positive impression. (for more detail, see: http://soccernostalgia.blogspot.com/2016/06/tournaments-part-5-england-challenge.html)
From the old guard, he maintained, Argentina’s hero of 1990 World Cup goalkeeper Sergio Goyoechea, defender Oscar Ruggeri and Claudio Caniggia.
He would be without Diego Maradona, who just months earlier, had been suspended for a failing a Drug Test in the Italian Serie A. In any case it would have been doubtful that he would have participated. Basile had appointed Oscar Ruggeri as Captain and he would remain so during Maradona’s lengthy absence.
There were only two foreign-based players in Basile’s squad: Claudio Caniggia (Atalanta) and Diego Simeone (Pisa).
The new star of the team was Boca Juniors’ Diego Latorre. He was already being groomed as the ‘next Diego’ and was set to join Fiorentina in the upcoming season (more on that later…).

Colombia had also parted ways with their Manager Francisco Maturana following the 1990 World Cup.
Maturana’s former Assistant, Hernan Dario Gomez, was the first to be approached but he refused, choosing to stay with Atletico Nacional Medellin.
The Colombian Federation President Leon Londono then short listed three candidates for the vacant position: Gabriel Ochoa, Diego Unama and Luis Augusto Garcia.
Luis Augusto Garcia was appointed to build up on the success of recent years (It was said that Maturana himself preferred Garcia).
The squad was relatively intact. The squad was built around the talents of Carlos Valderrama in midfield and the eccentricities of goalkeeper Rene Higuita. Other key players such as Leonel Alvarez, Freddy Rincon and Andres Escobar were still integral parts of the National Team set-up.
Before Colombia’s departure, Rene Higuita had visited Drug Kingpin Pablo Escobar in prison. When asked about it, Higuita responded that he wanted to visit ‘all prisoners’.

For Uruguay, the change of Regime brought problems with it. The new Manager Luis Cubilla had clashed with the foreign-based players.
The foreign-based stars such as Enzo Francescolli, Carlos Aguilera, Ruben Sosa and Daniel Fonseca and others would boycott the National Team as a result. This self-imposed exile would only be resolved in 1993.
In the meantime, Cubilla had selected and insisted upon a home-based squad. He even cut Ruben Pereira from his squad after the player had signed with Italian side Cremonese.
Cubilla had also wanted Ruben da Silva (River plate), but he was also on the verge of signing for Cremonese, he called up Gustavo Ferreira instead.
It would be a young and inexperienced Uruguay side that would participate.

Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela rounded out the participants.
Ecuador had wanted to play a friendly while in Chile; however, Conmebol refused all friendlies five days before the competition.
Uruguay and Venezuela were the only nations without any foreign-based players.
The format of the 1991 Copa was identical to the 1989 Edition.  The ten teams would be separated in two Groups of five teams. They would play one another in a round-robin format. The top two teams in each Group would then be placed in a Final Group of four teams (once again round-robin) and the winner would be decided on points.

In Group A, Chile were grouped with Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. The matches would take place in Santiago’s Estadio Nacional and Concepción’s Estadio Regional.
The first round of matches in this Group took place on July 6th at Santiago’s Estadio Nacional.
Chile hosted Venezuela and comfortably defeated them (2-0). The goals were scored with two headers by Eduardo Vilches (22nd minute) and Ivan Zamorano (34th minute).
Many felt Chile should have scored more goals and there were criticisms of Chilean Manager Arturo Salah for not entering Ivo Basay as a third striker to partner Rubio and Zamorano.
Ruben Espinoza was sent off near the end and would be suspended from Chile’s next matches in the Group.




Photo From: Deporte Total, July 17, 1991
(July 6, 1991, Copa America, Chile 2-Venezuela 0)



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 17, 1991
(July 6, 1991, Copa America, Chile 2-Venezuela 0)



Photo From: Triunfo No 265 8-07-1991
(July 6, 1991, Copa America, Chile 2-Venezuela 0)



Photo From: El Grafico Number 3745, 1991
(July 6, 1991, Copa America, Chile 2-Venezuela 0)


Photo From: Triunfo Nº265 08-07-1991
(July 6, 1991, Copa America, Chile 2-Venezuela 0)



Afterwards, Paraguay faced Peru and defeated them (1-0). Luis Monzon scored the winner in the 21st minute.
Peru did have chances and many felt a tie would have been a fairer result.




Photo From: Triunfo Nº265 08-07-1991
(July 6, 1991, Copa America, Paraguay 1-Peru 0)


Photo From: France Football, Issue 2362, July 16, 1991
(July 6, 1991, Copa America, Paraguay 1-Peru 0)


Photo From: Don Balon (Copa America 1991)
(Luis Monzon, July 6, 1991, Copa America, Paraguay 1-Peru 0)


The next round of matches in the Group was two days later on July 8th. At Concepción’s Estadio Regional, Chile hosted Peru and showed more of an attacking poise in defeating them (4-2).
Hugo Rubio opened the scoring in the 16th minute, taking advantage of an error in Peru’s marking.
Jorge Contreras doubled the lead in the 51st minute from the penalty spot.
Peru pulled a goal back in the 59th minute through 18-year old Flavio Maestri.
Maestri’s Copa America would be over just over twenty minutes later after he was injured (and replaced by Cesar Eduardo Rodríguez).
Just two minutes later, Chile scored their third. Ivan Zamorano headed in a header from a cross from the right.
Jose Del Solar scored another goal Peru in the 71st minute, but three minutes later Chile scored their fourth once again through Zamorano, heading in a cross from the right side.



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 17, 1991
(July 8, 1991, Copa America, Chile 4-Peru 2)



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 24, 1991
(July 8, 1991, Copa America, Chile 4-Peru 2)


On the same day at Santiago’s Estadio Nacional, Argentina made its debut in the Copa America.
Argentina were missing defender Carlos Enrique. He had been sent off in Argentina’s friendly vs. Brazil on June 27th, 1991 (1-1 tie) and was suspended for Argentina’s matches vs. Venezuela and Chile.
Néstor Oscar Craviotto would start in his place.
It was in this friendly that Gabriel Batistuta had made his debut for Argentina.
In this match vs. Venezuela (his second cap) a new star would be born as Batistuta scored two goals in the (3-0) win.
He opened the scoring in the 28th minute.
Argentina doubled the lead in the 43rd minute with a header by Claudio Caniggia.
Batistuta scored Argentina’s third on a penalty kick in the 50th minute.
While Batistuta had taken advantage of the opportunity provided to him, the same could not be said of his Boca Juniors partner Diego Latorre.
The man who was hyped to lead the new Argentina revival was a shadow of his former self and struggled (Basile would later state that he was exhausted after a long season).
Latorre was replaced in the 79th minute by Leonardo Adrián Rodríguez. Rodriguez, by his own admission, had not expected to see much action in this Copa, but he would remain and star in the side and be one of the surprises of this Copa along with Batistuta.
Batistua’s form had been so impressive that there were already reports of a link to Serie A’s Hellas Verona (in the end he went elsewhere..).




Photo From: Triunfo No 268 29-07-1991
(Gabriel Batistuta, July 8, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Venezuela 0)


Photo From: Deporte Total, July 17, 1991
(July 8, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Venezuela 0)




Photo From: Don Balon (Copa America 1991)
(July 8, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Venezuela 0)



Photo From: El Grafico Number 3744, 1991
(July 8, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Venezuela 0)


Photo From: World Soccer, November 1991
(Diego Latorre, July 8, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Venezuela 0)


The next round of matches in this Group took place two days later, July 10th,  at Santiago.
Paraguay predictably defeated Venezuela (5-0) with goals by Gutavo Neffa (34th minute), Carlos Guirland (38th minute), Luis Monzón (75th and  87th penalty kick) and  Vidal Sanabria (81st minute).


Photo From: World Soccer, August 1991
(July 10, 1991, Copa America, Paraguay 5-Venezuela 0)


That same day, the big clash of the Group place at Estadio Nacional as Chile hosted Argentina.
It was a closely fought match that was only decided with less than ten minutes remaining.
Batistuta scored for the second match in a row to earn Argentina an important victory.
Once again Arturo Salah’s reluctance to include three strikers was criticized, as the public were clamoring for Patricio Yanez.
Ivan Zamorano was ineffective as Ruggeri virtually marked him out of the game.
Néstor Oscar Craviotto once again deputized for Carlos Enrique and just like the previous match Rodriguez replaced Latorre (this time at the start of the second half).
This was Latorre’s last chance and from then on Rodriguez would be the starter.



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 24, 1991
(July 10, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Argentina 1)



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 24, 1991
(July 10, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Argentina 1)


Photo From: El Grafico Number 3745, 1991
(July 10, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Argentina 1)



Photo From: Triunfo No 268 29-07-1991
(July 10, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Argentina 1)



Photo From: World Soccer, August 1991
(July 10, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Argentina 1)


Photo From: World Soccer, August 1991
(July 10, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Argentina 1)


The next round of matches in this Group took place two days later, July 12th.
At Santiago, Peru comfortably defeated Venezuela (5-1) with goals by Eugenio La Rosa (9th, 55th minutes), Cesar Eduardo Rodríguez (21st minute), Jose Del Solar (58th minute), Jorge Hirano (62nd minute) and Venezuela scored through Miguel Echenausi (14th minute).
On the same day at Concepción, the new confident Argentina displayed one of its best performances in defeating Paraguay (4-1).
Argentina now had Carlos Enrique back in defense and Leonel Rodriguez was a starter.
It would be a masterful performance from Rodriguez and Caniggia, who had a hand in all of Argentina’s goals.
Gabriel Batistuta opened the scoring in the 40th minute. Diego Simeone doubled the lead in the 61st minute. Leonardo Astrada scored Argentina’s third in the 70th minute.
Paraguay pulled a goal back in the 79th minute through Jose Cardozo.
Claudio Caniggia capped off a memorable personal performance by scoring the fourth and final goal in the 81st minute.



Photo From: El Grafico Number 3745, 1991
(July 12, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 4-Paraguay 1)



Photo From: El Grafico Number 3745, 1991
(July 12, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 4-Paraguay 1)



Photo From: El Grafico Number 3745, 1991
(July 12, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 4-Paraguay 1)


Photo From: Triunfo No 268 29-07-1991
(July 12, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 4-Paraguay 1)


The final round of matches in the Group took place two days later on July 14th.
Argentina having already qualified rested most of its first teamers and included many of its reserves against Peru.
This gave a chance for the last outing of Diego Latorre with the National Team (he captained the side in Ruggeri’s absence).
In addition to Latorre, other players to get a rare chance to play were substitute goalkeeper Alejandro Lanari (his debut), Ricardo Altamirano, Fernando  Gamboa, Gustavo Zapata, Blas Giunta, Antonio Mohamed, Claudio Garcia and Ramon Medina Bello.
Latorre gave Argentina the lead by scoring in the third minute; Peru tied the match in the 35th minute through a penalty kick by Orlando Yáñez.
Argentina took the lead once more in the 51st minute through a Nestor Craviotto header and scored their third six minutes later through Claudio Garcia.
Jorge Hirano pulled another goal back for Peru, taking advantage of a poor back pass by Craviotto.
Argentina won its fourth straight matches in the Group.



Photo From: El Grafico Number 3745, 1991
(Cartoon showing the Argentina reserves playing vs. Peru, July 14, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Peru 2)



Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 36, January 1992
(Antonio Mohamed, July 14, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Peru 2)


Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 36, January 1992
(Diego Latorre, July 14, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Peru 2)


The Chilean hosts had to defeat Paraguay in their Final match to advance to the Final round.
For the first time Arturo Salah lined up three strikers to achieve this goal.
The Chileans played one of their finest matches and deservedly defeated the Paraguayans (4-0).
Hugo Rubio (12th minute) and Ivan Zamorano (15th) scored early to get Chile on their way. Fabian Estay (63rd minute) and Jaime Vera (68th minute) completed the rout.
Argentina and Chile qualified to the Final Group round from the Group A.


Photo From: Deporte Total, July 24, 1991
(July 14, 1991, Copa America, Chile 4-Paraguay 0)


Photo From: Deporte Total, July 24, 1991
(July 14, 1991, Copa America, Chile 4-Paraguay 0)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 31, August 1991
 (July 14, 1991, Copa America, Chile 4-Paraguay 0)

Photo From: Triunfo No 266 15-07-1991
(July 14, 1991, Copa America, Chile 4-Paraguay 0)


Photo From: Triunfo No 266 15-07-1991
(July 14, 1991, Copa America, Chile 4-Paraguay 0)


Photo From: Triunfo No 266 15-07-1991
(July 14, 1991, Copa America, Chile 4-Paraguay 0)


The Group B contained Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Bolivia. The matches were played in Valparaíso’s Estadio Playa Ancha and Viña del Mar’s  Estádio Sausalito.
This Group started its matches on July 7th at Valparaiso with Colombia facing Ecuador and Uruguay taking on Bolivia.
The matches in this Group were tighter than the other Group.
Colombia defeated Ecuador (1-0) through a strike by Anthony de Avila (25th minute) that Ecuadorian goalkeeper Erwin Ramirez should really have handled.



Photo From: Historia de la Copa America
(July 7, 1991, Copa America, Colombia 1-Ecuador 0)


Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 36, January 1992
(July 7, 1991, Copa America, Colombia 1-Ecuador 0)



Photo From: Triunfo No 267 22-07-1991
(July 7, 1991, Copa America, Colombia 1-Ecuador 0)


Photo From: World Soccer, August 1991
(July 7, 1991, Copa America, Colombia 1-Ecuador 0)


The Uruguay and Bolivia match ended in a tie (1-1). Juan Berthy Suárez gave Bolivia the lead in the 16th minute. Uruguay’s Ramon Castro tied the match in the 73rd minute.



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 17, 1991
(July 7, 1991, Copa America, Uruguay 1-Bolivia 1)


Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 36, January 1992
(Bolivia’s Marco Antonio Etcheverry, July 7, 1991, Copa America, Uruguay 1-Bolivia 1)


The next round of matches in the Group took place two days later on July 9th at Viña del Mar.
The Uruguay and Ecuador ended in a (1-1) tie. Alex Aguinaga had given Ecuador the lead just before halftime. Four minutes into the second half, Uruguay tied the score through a Peter Méndez penalty kick.



Photo From: Photo From: World Soccer, August 1991
(July 9, 1991, Copa America, Uruguay 1-Ecuador 1)

On the same day, Brazil made its debut in the Copa America by taking on Bolivia.
Brazil were victorious (2-1) with goals by Neto (5th minute penalty kick) and a Claudio Branco free kick in the 47th minute.
Bolivia pulled one goal back in the 90th minute through an Erwin Sanchez penalty kick.
The next round of matches in the Group took place two days later on July 11th at Viña del Mar.



Photo From: World Soccer, August 1991
(July 9, 1991, Copa America, Brazil 2-Bolivia 1)


Colombia and Bolivia played one another to a scoreless tie.
On the same day, Brazil faced Uruguay (the 1989 Champion and runner-up).
Joao Paulo gave Brazil the lead in the 39th minute. Uruguay tied the score through a Peter Mendez strike (Uruguay’s third straight tie).


Photo From: Don Balon (Copa America 1991)
(Mauro Silva, July 11, 1991, Copa America, Brazil 1-Uruguay 1)

The next round of matches in the Group took place two days later on July 13th.
Ecuador defeated Bolivia (4-0) through strikes by Alex Aguinaga (32nd minute), Ney Raúl Avilés (42nd, 73rd minutes) and goalkeeper Erwin Ramírez scored from the spot in the 80th minute.
Bolivia were not helped by Eduardo Jiguchi’s sending off in the 63rd minute, nor Erwin Sanchez’s missed penalty kick in the 60th minute.
On the same day, in an upset, Colombia defeated Brazil (2-0) to increase the pressure on Paulo Roberto Falcao.
Anthony de Avila gave Colombia the lead in the 35th minute and Arnold Iguaran doubled the lead in the 66th minute. Carlos Valderrama was instrumental in both goals as the more technical Colombians outplayed the more physical Brazilians.
Neto’s influence in Brazil’s game was waning and he was substituted in the second half by Luiz Henrique.
In the post match Press conference; Brazilian journalists started quarrelling with Falcao and the players. This led Falcao to ban the Brazilian Press from post-match conferences.



Photo From: Don Balon (Copa America 1991)
(July 13, 1991, Copa America, Colombia 2-Brazil 0)



Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 31, August 1991
(July 13, 1991, Copa America, Colombia 2-Brazil 0)



Photo From: Triunfo No 268 29-07-1991
(July 13, 1991, Copa America, Colombia 2-Brazil 0)



The Final Round of matches in the Group took place two days later on July 15th.
This group was still up to grabs with no team guaranteed to absence.
Uruguay inflicted on Colombia its first loss (1-0) through a Peter Mendez strike in the 19th minute. It was also Uruguay’s first win.


Photo From: Deporte Total, July 24, 1991
(July 15, 1991, Copa America, Uruguay 1-Colombia 0)


However, it was too little too late, as Brazil’s win (3-1) over Ecuador qualified them along with Colombia to the Final Group.
Following Uruguay’s win, Brazil needed to win by two clear goals to advance.
Brazil took the lead in the 8th minute through Mazinho II (he would be sent off just 12 minutes later).
Ecuador tied the score in the 12th minute through Carlos Muñoz.
Brazil needing to win scored twice in the second half. In the 54th minute, Marcio Santos gave Brazil the lead and just before the end Luíz Henrique scored in dramatic fashion to give Brazil a two-goal cushion to qualify to the next round.
Brazil Captain Neto was once again substituted and was slowly losing his spot in the team.


Photo From: Deporte Total, July 24, 1991
(July 15, 1991, Copa America, Brazil 3-Ecuador 1)


The Final Group matches were all played at Santiago’s Estadio Nacional.
The hosts Chile along with traditional powers Brazil and Argentina made it along Colombia.
On July 17th, Brazil and Argentina faced one another in the most ill tempered match of the Tournament that saw five sending offs.
Many felt this was anger carried over form the friendly between the Nations on June 27th that had also been as violent.
Claudio Caniggia and Iomar Mazinho (31st minute) and Marcio Santos and Carlos Enrique (61st minute) were given their marching orders.
Later Brazil’s Careca III was sent off as well in the 77th minute (….after coming on as a substitute in the 75th minute).

Photo From: Don Balon (Copa America 1991)
(July 17, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Brazil 2)


Photo From: Don Balon (Copa America 1991)
(July 17, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Brazil 2)


Photo From: El Grafico Number 3746, 1991
(July 17, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Brazil 2)



Photo From: World Soccer, August 1991
(July 17, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Brazil 2)


Photo From: El Grafico Number 3746, 1991
(July 17, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Brazil 2)



Photo From: Historia de la Copa America
(July 17, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Brazil 2)



Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 31, August 1991
(July 17, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Brazil 2)


Photo From: Triunfo No 268 29-07-1991
(July 17, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Brazil 2)


Photo From: World Soccer, July 1993 
(July 17, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 3-Brazil 2)


Afterwards, Branco stated that Ruggeri was more of a boxer than a footballer.
Caniggia complained that he got hit and kicked all the time and when he hit back once he got sent off.
Argentina Manager Alfio Basile felt the attacks on his players were unjustified. He said his players were no angels but he was sick and tired of always being blamed for the violence.
Amidst the violence, Leonel Rodriguez once again gave a masterful performance and created all three goals.
Dario Franco scored twice on headers. His first goal was after 40 seconds and was the fastest goal of these games.
Branco tied the match for Brazil with yet another free kick in the 6th minute.
Dario Franco scored his second on a header in the 40th minute and Batistuta scored his fifth goal of the Tournament in the 46th minute (also on a header).
Joao Paulo pulled one goal back for Brazil in the 53rd minute.
Neither side was satisfied with the officiating and on the following day (July 18th), Brazil submitted a formal protest about Paraguayan Referee Carlos Maciel for his handling of their match with Argentina.
There had been a conspiracy theory that Conmebol wanted players from Chile’s rivals to be sent off to ease the path for the hosts to win.
According to this theory, Conmebol wanted Chile to be pardoned to participate in the 1994 World Cup qualifiers.
As a result, Conmebol President, the Paraguayan Nicolas Leoz had ‘given’ instructions to Paraguayan Referee Carlos Maciel.
On the following day, According to Argentina Captain Oscar Ruggeri (his nose bandaged after being punched by Careca III), Maciel had confided him that he had received instructions from above. Carlos Maciel denied Ruggeri’s claims.
The Paraguayan linesman Jose Escobar was also booed during the match and called “ladron” (thief) because of the way he had officiated the Brazil –Ecuador (by ‘allowing’ Brazil to score near the end for a better goal average).
In the end, Caniggia and Mazinho were suspended for one match and Carlos Enrique for three matches. Chileans felt that the suspensions of Caniggia and Mazinho were not severe enough, since Chile’s Ruben Espinoza had been suspended for more matches after his sending off in the first round.
On the same day, Chile took on Colombia and missed its chance to keep pace.
In contrast to their impressive display vs. Paraguay, Chile were poor and unimaginative vs. Colombia.
Chile missed the chance to go ahead in the 31st minute, as Rene Higuita saved Ivan Zamorano’s penalty kick.
Minutes later in the 37th minute, Colombia took the lead through Arnoldo Iguaran.
Chile leveled the score through Zamorano in the 74th minute.



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 31, 1991
(Rene Higuita saving Ivan Zamorano’s penalty kick, July 17, 1991, Copa America, Chile 1-Colombia 1)



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 31, 1991
(Team captains Jaime Pizarro and Carlos Valderrama, July 17, 1991, Copa America, Chile 1-Colombia 1)



Photo From: Don Balon (Copa America 1991)
(Carlos Valderrama and Jaime Pizarro, July 17, 1991, Copa America, Chile 1-Colombia 1)


The next round of matches was two days later on July 19th as Chile hosted Argentina and Brazil took on Colombia.
Both matches were played under heavy rain that affected the players’ form and conditions.
Argentina drafted Ricardo Altamirano and Ramon Medina Bello to cover for the suspended duo: Carlos Enrique and Claudio Caniggia.
Chile had Ruben Espinoza back from suspension in place of Gabriel Mendoza.
The match ended in a scoreless tie that served Argentina better as Chile needed to win to have any chance of lifting the Copa.
The hosts were further hampered by the sending off of Patricio Yanez in the 41st minute after a foul on Sergio Vazquez. The playing conditions were so appalling that according to Alfio Basile the match was “closer to water polo than football”.



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 31, 1991
(July 19, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Argentina 0)



Photo From: Historia de la Copa America
(July 19, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Argentina 0)


Photo From: Triunfo No 268 29-07-1991
(July 19, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Argentina 0)


In the Colombia-Brazil match, the rain would be detrimental to Colombia’s ‘Toque’ style and Brazil took advantage.
Brazil took the lead through Renato Gaucho in the 29th minute. The goal and the weather conditions forced Colombia to abandon its style and to play in a more British style that they were unaccustomed to.
Brazil scored their second on a penalty kick by Branco in the 61st minute.
Afterwards, Carlos Valderrama declared that playing under those conditions was a scandal. He added that once again for the authorities, financial interests had taken precedence over the spectacle.
Colombia’s disappointed Coach Luis Augusto Garcia almost came to blows with a persistent Chilean journalist.



Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 31, August 1991
(Renato Gaucho, July 19, 1991, Copa America, Brazil 2-Colombia 0)


Photo From: World Soccer, October 1991
(Ricardo Rocha, July 19, 1991, Copa America, Brazil 2-Colombia 0)



The final round of matches took place two days later on July 21st.
First Chile hosted Brazil, knowing that even a victory might not be enough as Argentina had a one-point advantage.
In the end Brazil won (2-0) with two headers from corner kicks by Mazinho II (8th minute) and Luiz Henrique (56th minute).
In the second half, Arturo Salah had sent on Ivo Basay as an extra attacker but it did not help.
Brazil had yet another player sent off (this time Branco in the 69th minute).



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 31, 1991
(July 21, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Brazil 2)



Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 2, Issue 11, November 1991
(Captains Jaime Pizarro and Ricardo Rocha, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Brazil 2)


Photo From: Triunfo No 267 22-07-1991
(July 21, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Brazil 2)


Photo From: Triunfo No 267 22-07-1991
(July 21, 1991, Copa America, Chile 0-Brazil 2)



Argentina started their match with Colombia with the advantage of the extra point and the knowledge of the Chile-Brazil result.
In any case, there was virtually no suspense after 20 minutes as Argentina had raced to a two-goal lead and once again with Rodriguez in the middle of it all.
Diego Simeone headed in Argentina’s fist goal in the 11th minute and Gabriel Batistuta scored in the 19th minute to double Argentina’s lead.
This was Batistuta’s sixth goal and he ended as the top goalscorer of the Copa America.
Anthony de Avila pulled one goal back for Colombia in the 70th minute, but Argentina were never in danger and deservedly won their first Copa America in 32 years (the last victory was in 1959).
Argentina Captain Oscar Ruggeri joined a select group of players to have won the World Cup as well as the Copa America.
According to Basile, Argentina were deserved winners as they had played against every possible style of football and won in tough, balanced games and gaining 13 out of 14 points in the process.
No one could argue with his assessment as the best team had won.



Photo From: Deporte Total, July 31, 1991
(July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


Photo From: El Grafico Number 3746, 1991
(July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)



Photo From: France Football, Issue 2363, July 23, 1991
(Luis Perea and Claudio Caniggia, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)



Photo From: World Soccer, November 1991
(Leonel Rodriguez, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


Photo From: El Grafico Number 3746, 1991
(Oscar Ruggeri holding the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


By all accounts, the 1991 Copa America was regarded to be successful.
As far as the coverage, it was estimated that over 1800 Journalists had covered the matches.
The matches had been telecast to 62 Nations. 
The attendance at the matches and the spectacle on the pitch had also been positive.
An estimated 450,000 fans had watched the matches with $2.4 Million Dollars in gate receipts. Given expenses of $2 Million Dollars, the profit was in the region of $400,000 (in some sources it was estimated $500,000).
This was the largest profit in the history of the Tournament (30% of this profit was kept by Chile and the rest went to Conmebol).
Brazilian firm Traffic had paid $1.7 million US Dollars for Television rights.  Chilean organizers kept 10%, and after expenses, the rest of the money was used for prize money: Argentina ($240,000), Brazil ($200,000), Chile ($160,000), Colombia ($130,000) and the rest of the Nations received $100,000 each.



Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 31, August 1991
(Oscar Ruggeri holding the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


Photo From: World Soccer, September 1991
(Oscar Ruggeri holding the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


Photo From: World Soccer, August 1991
(Oscar Ruggeri holding the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


Photo From: World Soccer, July 1993 
(Oscar Ruggeri holding the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)

There were some minor complaints. The Police treatment of some fans was questioned. Some felt the Press boxes were somewhat deficient. In addition live of transmission of matches blocked and brought to a stand still the cities where the match was being played at. The populace in the streets would disperse to watch the match on Television.
But in general, Chile was credited for its otherwise good organization of the Tournament. It had been a sharp improvement from the 1987 and 1989 Editions.
On the playing front, Argentina’s positive approach after nearly a decade of rugged defensive tactics was a breath of fresh air.
A new global star was born. Gabriel Batistuta would go on and write some of the best pages in the history of the game.
This Copa had shown that Argentina had a large young reservoir of talent to call upon.
Batistuta would be on his way to Fiorentina, ahead of unlucky teammate Latorre, who stayed back for another year at Boca Juniors (loaned back).
His poor performance in the Copa had given the Italians food for fought and they had instead snapped up Batistuta that many had never heard of before the competition.
Argentina’s other star of the Tournament Leonel Rodriguez would also be on his way to Europe. Bernard Tapie’s Olympique Marseille signed him and immediately loaned him to French club Toulon.
The Chilean hosts also gave a fair account of themselves despite failing somewhat short of their objectives.
Their pleas to participate in the 1994 World Cup qualifiers fell on death ears and they could only forward to the next Copa America in 1993.
In addition to the confirmation of Zamorano’s talent, the hosts’ new discoveries included Fabian Estay and Gabriel Mendoza.
Other new discoveries included the Uruguayan pair of Edgar Borges and Marcelo Fracchia, the Bolivian Marco Antonio Etcheverry, Peru’s Jose Del Solar and Percy Olivares and Venezuela’s Stalin Rivas.
Brazil were the greatest disappointment and still appeared to be mired in the post-elimination depression from the last World Cup.
Their discipline also came into question as a record number of five players were sent off in the Copa (three in the violent clash with Argentina).
Ultimately Neto followed his 1989 predecessor Geovani as Brazil’s would-be superstar that eventually crashed.




Photo From: El Grafico Number 3746, 1991
(July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


Photo From: Triunfo No 267 22-07-1991
(Argentina players with the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)



Photo From: Triunfo No 267 22-07-1991
(Argentina players with the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)



Photo From: El Grafico, Historia de la seleccion Argentina, 1986-1991
(Oscar Ruggeri and Alfio Basile with the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


Photo From: Triunfo No 268 29-07-1991
(Oscar Ruggeri and Alfio Basile with the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


Photo From: Triunfo No 268 29-07-1991
(Argentina players with the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


Photo From: Triunfo No 268 29-07-1991
(Alfio Basile with the trophy, July 21, 1991, Copa America, Argentina 2-Colombia 1)


The only bright spots for Brazil were Joao Paulo and to some extent Mazinho, Ricardo Rocha and Branco.
Falcao’s sacking appeared imminent despite his public intention to remain at his post. However, before the Final Group phase had been played, a Brazilian Official had been heard saying that Falcao would be on his way out irrespective of the Final position.
On August 20th, 1991, Falcao was sacked as national team manager.
This would be the last Copa America with this Group format.  For the 1993 Edition, Conmebol decided to include two guests from Concacaf (USA and Mexico) to liven up the competition (and of course more revenue).
The format of the 1993 Edition would be more traditional with a first phase of round robin groups followed by the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and a Final.

Note:
1-Journalists selected the following All-Star Team:
Patricio Toledo (Chile), Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina), Ricardo Rocha (Brazil), Claudio Branco (Brazil), Leonel Alvarez (Colombia), Marco Antonio Etcheverry (Bolivia), Leonel Rodriguez (Argentina), Carlos Valderrama (Colombia), Claudio Caniggia (Argentina), Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), Ivan Zamorano (Chile)

Reserve:
Sergio Goycoechea (Argentina), Claudio Taffarel (Brazil), Fabian Basualdo (Argentina), Holger Quinonez (Ecuador), Jose del Solar (Peru), Felipe Revelez (Uruguay), Diego Simeone, Luis Monzon (Paraguay), Dario Franco (Argentina), Jorge Hirano (Peru), Anthony de Avila (Colombia), Joao Paulo (Brazil)

2-Another Group of Journalists had selected the following All-Star Team:
Patricio Toledo (Chile), Fabian Basualdo (Argentina), Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina), Luis Carlos Perea (Colombia), Holger Quinonez (Ecuador), Leonel Rodriguez (Argentina), Mazinho II (Brazil), Carlos Valderrama (Colombia), Leonel Alvarez (Colombia), Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), Patricio Yanez (Chile)

3-Another Team of Tournament from Don Balon (Copa America 1991):
Claudio Taffarel (Brazil), Fabian Basualdo (Argentina), Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina), Ricardo Rocha (Brazil), Claudio Branco (Brazil), Gabriel Mendoza (Chile), Leonel Alvarez (Colombia), Leonel Rodriguez (Argentina), Luis Monzon (Paraguay), Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), Ivan Zamorano (Chile)

4-All Star-Team per Triunfo Magazine:
Patricio Toledo (Chile), Fabian Basualdo (Argentina), Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina), Ricardo Rocha (Brazil), Diego Osorio (Colombia), Carlos Guirland (Paraguay), Mauro Silva (Brazil), Alex Aguinaga (Ecuador), Leonel Rodriguez (Argentina), Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), Joao Paulo (Brazil)

5-During the Tournament, Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita was asked by a Chilean journalist, if there was a woman for whom he would not leave his penalty area for:
His response was Brooke Shields.

6-In the Copa America, for each yellow card, there was a fine of $100.


References:
Triunfo Nº264 01-07-1991
Triunfo Nº265 08-07-1991
Triunfo Nº266 15-07-1991
Triunfo Nº 267 22-07-1991
Triunfo Nº 268 29-07-1991
El Grafico Number 3744, 1991
El Grafico Number 3745, July 16, 1991
El Grafico Number 3746, 1991
Deporte Total , Edicion Especial Copa America 1991
Deporte Total, July 17, 1991
Deporte Total, July 24, 1991
Deporte Total, July 31, 1991
El Grafico, Historia de la seleccion Argentina, 1961-1970
El Grafico, Historia de la seleccion Argentina, 1986-1991
France Football, Issue 2361, July 9, 1991
France Football, Issue 2362, July 16, 1991
France Football, Issue 2363, July 23, 1991
Historia de la Copa America
Libero, issue 9, 1993 (IFFHS)
Onze-Mondial, Issue 30, July 1991
Onze-Mondial, Issue 31, August 1991
Seleccao Brasileira -90 Anos 1914-2004, Authors Antonio Carlos Napoleao, Roberto Assaf
Soccer International, Volume 2, Issue 11, November 1991
World Soccer, July 1991
World Soccer, August 1991
World Soccer, September 1991

Don Balon (Copa America 1991)

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