Chile's Eduardo Vargas (#11) celebrates after scoring against Mexico in a Copa America Centenario quarterfinal at Levi's Stadium in San Clara, California, USA, on June 18, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)
SANTA CLARA, California – Eduardo Vargas scored four goals and Chile defeated Mexico 7-0 on Saturday night to earn a place in the Copa America Cententario semifinals.
The defending champion stunned a mostly pro-Mexico crowd of 70,547 at Levi’s Stadium with a second-half outburst that yielded five goals, inflicting the largest-ever loss on the Tricolor in 48 all-time games in the competition.
Edson Puch netted the first and last goals, giving Chile a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute, when he put away the rebound of a Marcelo Diaz effort from outside the box that was initially stopped by Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
In the 44th minute, Vargas opened his personal goal account. Alexis Sanchez delivered pass from near the left-goal line that required a controlling touch by Vargas, before he knocked it in from just inside the six-yard box.
Four minutes after the break, Sanchez finished from eight-yards out off a neat give-and-go with Arturo Vidal to make it 3-0.
With Mexico pushing forward in a bid to get back into the match, Sanchez’s one-touch pass released Vargas, who raced 24 yards with the ball to beat Ochoa easily in the 52nd minute.
Five minutes later, Vargas fired home an Ochoa parry to record his third goal and completed the memorable performance in the 74th minute, hitting the roof of the net from a tight angle at the right post. The 26-year-old forward became the 12th player to score four goals in a Copa America match.
Puch punctuated the scoreline in the 88th minute with a chip from 10-yards out over the charging Ochoa.
Vargas shared the Golden Boot at the 2015 Copa America with Peru’s Paolo Guerrero; both had four goals. With his current total at six, Vargas leads the tournament in scoring once again.
Chile will face Colombia in the second semifinal on Wednesday in Chicago. The host United States and Argentina will meet a day earlier in Houston.
BUDWEISER PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Eduardo Vargas (Chile)