Chile beating Colombia on Wedensday to set up the second straight Chile-Argentina final in the Copa America wasn't just about them outperforming Colombia. It was about fate giving us the match fans needed, because last year's Copa final wasn't nearly as good a display as these two teams are capable of.
A year ago, we were treated to a Copa final that, for the most part, can be best described as "underwhelming." Argentina were disorganized and out of sorts, Chile were playing a step back from the dominance they'd shown earlier in the tournament, and the end result was a muddled mess that wasn't a lot of fun to watch. Chile winning was amazing and wonderful and all things sugar and spice, but the match itself was eminently forgettable except for a few glaring mistakes and miscues, like Gonzalo Higuain missing multiple game-winning sitters.
This year has the potential to be a very different match. Argentina are in much, much better form, fielding a team with better balance and composition than they did a year ago, and enjoying some fantastic play from Lionel Messi, Higuain, and others. Chile are a very different team than they were at the time thanks to a change in manager -- but they, too, are playing better than they were. They just came off a demolition of Mexico in the quarterfinals and an easy win over Colombia in spite of a brutally long weather delay.
Of course, they've already played each other once in this tournament, with Argentina winning surprisingly easily in their first group stage match. Chile used that loss to kick-start themselves out of a funk, though, turning things around and launching themselves onto the path of utter domination that they've been on ever since. Want to know what Argentina inspired Chile to do? Look no further than their hilariously one-sided obliteration of an excellent team in Mexico in their 7-0 quarterfinal win.
Now it's time for the rubber match. The winner take all, grudge-settling contest to see who the best team in the Americas is. It's only appropriate for Chile and Argentina to get another crack at each other with everything on the line, to settle the score once and for all. There will be no holding back, no keeping anything in reserve. Everything Chile and Argentina have will be thrown at each other one last time.
These two teams are hitting their peak right at the end of the tournament, and fans get to enjoy the benefits of that success. Chile and Argentina have been, in no uncertain terms, the two best teams in what's been a fun Copa America. Last year, they were more like the two least disappointing teams in an uninspiring tournament. One year later, we're finally getting the match that we truly wanted to see way back then.