Alexis Sanchez converted the winning penalty to seal Chile’s maiden Copa America triumph – and sparked scenes of jubilation across the country that look set to last several days.
Hours after their penalty shoot-out victory over Argentina and the party was still going strong in Santiago, as the players paraded the trophy on an open-top bus and visited the palace at La Moneda to receive the congratulations of president Michelle Bachelet.
Thousands of delighted fans thronged the streets and squares of the Chilean capital to celebrate a famous victory on home soil, with the singing, dancing and drinking continuing late into the night.
Chile’s victorious Copa America team show off the trophy to the country’s president Michelle Bachelet (middle) at the La Moneda presidential palace following their penalty shoot-out win over Argentina in Santiago on Saturday night
The country’s president Michelle Bachelet lifts the Copa America trophy at a party held at the presidential palace in the capital Santiago
The Chile squad headed straight from the stadium to the palace by open-top bus as thousands of delighted fans packed the streets
The Chile players, some still in their playing kit, headed for their official reception at the palace in the hours after the match
The Chile players dance around the Copa trophy after a historic maiden triumph in the competition against Argentina
Arturo Vidal and Marcelo Diaz, accompanied by president Michelle Bachelet, show the trophy off to the crowds gathered outside
Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez posted this Instagram snap with the trophy inside the Chile dressing room
Many fans followed the open-top bus through the streets from the Estadio Nacional as the players proudly showed off the handsome trophy and their medals.
Waving the national flag and still in their kit in some cases, they posed for photographs with the president as tournament favourites Argentina were overcome.
While Chile scored all four of their penalties in the shoot-out that followed a 0-0 draw, Gonzalo Higuain fired over and Ever Banega was denied by goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
The players made their way from the national stadium to the presidential palace in Santiago after the match
Once inside, the players took it in turns to hoist the handsome silver trophy as the president and government staff watched on
Chilean FA president Sergio Jadue (second left) also joined in with the celebrations as Chile won their first piece of silverware
Chile players Arturo Vidal (left), Eduardo Vargas (middle) and Mauricio Pinilla (right) show off the trophy on the palace balcony
The Chilean president Michelle Bachelet gets into the full spirit of the celebrations following Chile’s historic triumph
Arturo Vidal completes a successful season by lifting the Copa America trophy following Chile’s shoot-out win over Argentina
The fans had a giant replica of the trophy of their own outside the La Moneda presidential palace
Supporters lit red flares as they celebrated in the streets of the capital Santiago following Saturday night’s final
The streets were packed with thousands of joyous fans, with every vantage point taken as the players passed by
A giant Chilean flag is waved in triumph as thousands of fans spilled out onto the streets to celebrate the win
Chile beat Argentina in a penalty shoot-out after the match ended 0-0 after 90 minutes
Higuain had squandered Argentina’s best chance from close range in normal time and their 22-year wait for a piece of silverware – dating back to the 1993 Copa America in Ecuador – goes on.
Chile have competed in the tournament since its inception 1916 and had been runners-up on four occasions before finally breaking their duck.
Midfielder and Arsenal target Arturo Vidal said: ‘This is a dream come true, this team deserves something like this.
‘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.’