Chile conceded their first goals of these finals on Thursday against familiar opposition, losing out 3-0 after Argentina hit home through Angel Di Maria, Claudio Yacob and Maximiliano Moralez. The all-South American affair produced some occasionally dazzling football, but will be remembered primarily for its confrontational edge as the Chileans finished with only nine men.
After some nasty collisions and chest thumping in the middle of the park, the first chance of note fell to Argentina's Di Maria. An unfortunate slip at the six-minute mark by Gary Medel on the rain-soaked pitch allowed the Rosario Central striker in with a golden chance, but one that he could only push wide of the near post.
Just seconds later, Chile's Nicolas Medina forced Argentine keeper Sergio Romero into a fine save as the contentious affair looked to be settling into an interesting back-and-forth rhythm.
From nothing, the Argentines - who had created precious little up to that point - grabbed an opening goal on the 12-minute mark. Ever Banega, the brilliant Boca Juniors starlet, dribbled one man in midfield, then showed great determination to tackle the ball back from a second challenge before slipping a wonderful through pass to Di Maria racing into the box. He made no mistake this time, slamming his left footer off the inside of the post and into the back of net.
As the Chileans tried to adjust to life coming from behind (Di Maria's goal was the first they conceded at these finals) tempers boiled over. Chilean fullback Medel kicked out at Gabriel Mercado and was promptly given his marching orders by the German referee.
Despite being down a man, the Chileans had the better of the play as the first half wore on. Gerardo Cortes nearly hit home with an audacious chip form 50 yards but La Rojita headed into the locker-room a man down and a goal behind.
The second period started with a major blow for the Argentines as scorer Di Maria limped off with what looked a hamstring pull. And in a nice touch of class in what was an extremely competitive contest, several Chileans came over to offer their condolences as tears streamed down the striker's face.
All generous romanticism was banished just minutes later though, when, in the 65th minute, Argentina's 'little big man' Maxi Moralez crossed low from the left for Racing mate Claudio Yacob, who poked home from close range.
Having been booked a few minutes earlier, the scorer knew he would be missing the Final - Argentina's second on the trot - for an accumulation of cards, and showed great spirit in making sure he did his part on the night. Maxi Moralez then went on to put the game beyond doubt with a close-range tap in during stoppage time.
Captain Matias Cahais will join Yacob in the stands for the Final against the Czechs, having picked up his second yellow of the second round in the over-tough semi-final. For Chile, Medel and Dagoberto Currimilla (who was sent off late in the match) will both miss the third-place game against Austria.