Chile won their first ever Toulon Tournament in dramatic fashion as Gerson Martinez scored his fourth goal of the tournament – all as substitute – to down a brave French performance at the Stade Mayol.
Chile were without the suspended Rafael Caroca, and coach Ivo Basay made the bold decision to give a start to David Llanos in attack to replace him. This left Gerson Martinez once again on the bench, from which he has come up with three goals, all key to their progression to the Final. France coach Eric Mombaerts oversaw a slight change in shape from Les Blues, with Obertan and Sako in wide roles behind David N’Gog and Grégory Sertic, making just his second start of the tournament and first meaningful one. The formerly three-man midfield became a two with Capoue and Sissoko, whilst Younousse Sankharé moved to left-back, replacing the injured Cheikh M’Bengue.
The South Americans started in lively form, with Eduardo Vargas finding space in the channels and bringing midfielders into play. An early corner found the head of Paulo Magalhaes but he was unable to direct it properly and the ball was scrambled clear. They were keeping the ball well, playing with a bit of a swagger, and on ten minutes Cristobal Jorquera hit a sharp drive which went wide, and was comfortably left by Johnny Placide. Over the next ten minutes France settled into the game, with Sankharé getting forward a lot from his new role at the back, and Sertic looking lively in what appeared to be a free role. N’Gog had their first real sight of goal, taking the ball from Obertan on the right, beating his man and finding space to hit a powerful effort on his left foot, but he was leaning back and it went both wide and high.
The match game a battle of the French power and physical superiority against the Chilean guile and trickery, and it was the hosts who were starting to edge the final. Some fine play from Obertan nearly released Sertic, and N’Gog showed fine agility from a corner to force a good save from Toselli. The highly-rated Chilean stopper then had a chance to show what he is all about on 31 minutes when he produced a wonderful one-handed save to deny a blast from Moussa Sissoko, which rounded off a lovely French move. The ball was moving at speed even though it was close to Toselli, but the save was magnificent.
Garry Bocaly’s neat footwork then earned his team a free kick on the edge of the area, but the Chilean wall was equal to Sako’s drive, and the first half wound down to an end from there. France started slowly but had been getting into the game and would have been good value had they taken a lead. Within 30 seconds of the start of the second half they came even closer, having earned a corner. Sertic swung a dangerous ball towards the near post and Dorian Dervite ran towards it, glancing a header past Toselli but it hit the base of the far post.
The game was then about to take a turn for the worse for Toselli. Taking a routine long clearance, he suffered a knee injury which required immediate attention, and despite replacement Raúl Olivares being readied, he managed to hobble on. He didn’t have any immediate action to handle as his team-mates rallied and went close through Pavez. When he was asked to make a save, it was following a useful run and long-range effort from Sankharé which he held well. He watched the next effort from Sako fly over after Sissoko’s approach play.
The clock continued to tick down and with the game still level, the openness of the first half was rarer, with a tighter, more tactical game. Abarca took an overhead kick flush to the face from substitute Jires Kembo Ekoko, whilst Chile introduced their goalscoring supersub Gerson Martinez. And, as with three other occasions in the tournament, they were to turn the game with the introduction of their new hero.
With seven minutes left on the clock Jorquera collected the ball in midfield and dropped a simply glorious left-footed pass over the back of the French back four for Martinez. He controlled the ball superbly before settling himself, holding off a challenge and poking the ball past Placide for 1-0. Martinez, who had been named as Revelation of the Tournament ten minutes earlier, tied Diego Buonanotte for top goalscorer on four and put his team just minutes from glory.
Mombaerts reacted by putting the giant Herol Goulon onto the pitch and playing him up front, with a long ball bombardment to follow against the shorter, weaker Chileans. But as the clock ran into four minutes of stoppage time they dealt well with everything. French captain Capoue didn’t like what he was seeing and got into an argument with Toselli, who earned himself a booking and the ire of the local fans. Chile were giving absolutely everything, throwing themselves into blocks and tackles, and Mena picked up an unfortunate yellow card for a dangerous tackle, even though he won the ball.
Sako swung in the free kick from Mena’s foul but Toselli watched it wide, and when he resumed play the referee blew the final whistle to signal a fantastic Toulon Tournament victory for the Chileans. After falling just short last year, they were able to return this year with a different generation and go one step further. Their defence conceded just once throughout the competition and they can go down as deserved winners.
France: Placide, Bocaly, Sakho, Dervite, Sankharé, Capoue (c), Sissoko, Sako, Obertan, Sertic (Goulon), N’Gog (Kembo Ekoko)
Chile: Toselli, Magalhaes, Labrin, Parra, Mena, Abarca (c), Jorquera, Pavez, Medel, Llanos (Martinez), Vargas
Further subs to follow.
Diego Buonanotte was voted Player of the Tournament and finished joint top goalscorer with Gerson Martinez, who was the Revelation of the Tournament. Christopher Toselli and Agustin Marchesín shared the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award, whilst Ever Banega, Eduardo Vargas, Etienne Capoue and Carlos Labrin also received trophies, clarification of which will come over the weekend along with this site’s own end of tournament awards.