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Rodrigo Echeverria of Chile applauds fans after the team's elimination from Copa America on Saturday. Image Credit: AFP

New York: Chile are devastated after being knocked out of the Copa America following a 0-0 draw with Canada, assistant coach Sergio Santin said as he vowed the two-time champions would use the lessons in their bid to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

The draw meant Chile, who needed to win to stand a chance of progressing, finished third in Group A behind winners Argentina and Canada.

Chile, winners of the title in 2015 and 2016, had not been eliminated earlier than the quarter-finals since 2004, but now become one of the first major nations to be going home early.

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Gabriel Arias of Chile reacts as the team were pushed towards the wall. Image Credit: AFP

With an ageing squad still reliant on veterans like Claudio Bravo and Alexis Sanchez, Chile also look likely to struggle to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

They are eighth in the standings for the CONMEBOL qualifiers and have scored just three goals in six matches.

Assessing the situation

“We need to analyse these three matches and try to find solutions for these situations we faced,” Santin, filling in for suspended head coach Ricardo Gareca, told reporters.

“There are things that the team showed today that are essential for the future of this national team. We are after the results. We don’t only take away the positives, we are assessing the situation. And as from the onset, we mentioned that our main goal are the World Cup qualifiers.

“We all wanted to perform well here and we wanted to get to the final. And, of course, at this moment we are sad, we are hurt by the situation. But we are well aware that based on the positives we saw today, we can construct future results.”

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Igor Lichnovsky of Chile vies with Cyle Larin of Canada in their final group game. Image Credit: AFP

In Saturday’s draw, Chile went down to 10 men after Gabriel Suazo was shown a second yellow card in the 27th minute for bringing down Richie Laryea, with players criticising the refereeing after the match.

Beneficial result

Santin opted against hitting out at the officials in the post-match press conference, saying: “The team kept trying, went for the win. We needed to win. And the squad tried that.

“And all the way until the last minute, Canada were defensive. They were facing, of course, a result that was beneficial for them, and they defended that result.

“We were one man down, which meant that we had one man less for the attack. Regarding the officiating, we won’t criticise what happened.”