Chile won the first major trophy in their history by overcoming Argentina in the Copa América final ©Getty Images

Hosts Chile claimed the first major trophy in their history after beating Argentina on penalties in the Copa América final in Santiago tonight. 

Alexis Sanchez scored the decisive spot-kick in the shoot-out after Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuaín blazed over and Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo thwarted Ever Banega’s attempt.

The two teams could not be separated after 120 minutes in Santiago as the match finished goalless.

Sanchez came closest to breaking the deadlock in extra time for Chile, who scored four out of four penalties in the shootout.

"This is a dream come true, this team deserves something like this,” said midfielder Arturo Vidal.

"We left our life on the field.

“Chilean people needed this joy and we managed to give it to them.

"We'll fight a lot in the next World Cup.

“This generation of players deserved this."

Alexis Sanchez scored the decisive penalty in the shootout
Chile's Alexis Sanchez scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out against Argentina ©Getty Images

As for Argentina, their long wait for a major trophy goes on, having failed to win a senior competition since the 1993 Copa América in Ecuador.

Napoli forward Higuaín was criticised for fluffling a great chance in the country’s FIFA World Cup final defeat to Germany in Brazil last summer and he was once again in the headlines for the wrong reasons. 

As well as missing a penalty in the shootout, he also wasted an opportunity to win the game for his side in the last minute of normal time when he failed to convert at the back post from Ezequiel Lavezzi's low cross.

Both sides successfully dispatched their opening penalty, with Matias Fernandez finding the top corner for Chile before Lionel Messi, a peripheral figure for the most part, slotted the ball home.

After Arturo Vidal had scored Chile's second, Higuaín fired his effort way over the crossbar.

Charles Aranguiz made it 3-1 to the hosts before Banega's tame effort was saved by Bravo and the stage was set for Sanchez, who showed incredible nerve to chip the ball down the middle and cue the celebrations.

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