Copa America 2021: Stoke born striker Ben Brereton dubbed messiah in Chile after first goal

Born in Stoke, scoring for Chile! Ben Brereton Diaz dubbed the new messiah in his adopted country after netting in Copa America win over Bolivia with Blackburn striker eligible because of his Chilean mother

  • Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Brereton playing for Chile at the Copa America
  • 22-year-old qualified because his mother Andrea was born in the country
  • He made an impact by scoring the winner as Chile beat Bolivia on Friday night
  • It was his first appearance for his adopted nation after debut against Argentina
  • His social media profile exploded in South America as a result of the strike 


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One Englishman did score on Friday night and Ben Brereton became an instant Chilean hero with his match-winner against Bolivia in the Copa America.

Blackburn Rovers striker Brereton, who represented England through the youth ranks, was making his first start for his adopted nation.

He scored the only goal of the game in the 10th minute, finding the net at the end of a slick counter-attack and saw his social media following explode across Latin America as memes depicting him as the messiah went viral.

Ben Brereton couldn't hide his delight after scoring Chile's winner against Bolivia on Friday

Ben Brereton couldn’t hide his delight after scoring Chile’s winner against Bolivia on Friday

The Stoke-born striker settled the Copa America contest 1-0 in Chile's favour in Cuiaba, Brazil

The Stoke-born striker settled the Copa America contest 1-0 in Chile's favour in Cuiaba, Brazil

The Stoke-born striker settled the Copa America contest 1-0 in Chile’s favour in Cuiaba, Brazil

Brereton qualifies for the Chile team because his mother Andrea was born in the country

Brereton qualifies for the Chile team because his mother Andrea was born in the country

Brereton qualifies for the Chile team because his mother Andrea was born in the country

Brereton’s mother Andrea was born in Chile and the Chilean FA have been tracking his progress for months as they plan ahead for regeneration beyond the golden era featuring Alexis Sanchez, Eduardo Vargas and Arturo Vidal.

Chile’s technical director Francis Cagigao worked in scouting roles for Arsenal for 23 years and has been aware of his eligibility, although the process was complicated by the restrictions of the global pandemic and various lockdowns.

Brereton, who was born in Stoke and emerged through the Nottingham Forest academy, was persuaded to make the switch last year after a conversation over Zoom with Reinaldo Rueda, who was then Chile boss.

Brereton (right) came up against Lionel Messi and Argentina in the tournament's first game

Brereton (right) came up against Lionel Messi and Argentina in the tournament's first game

Brereton (right) came up against Lionel Messi and Argentina in the tournament’s first game

He was then in action from the start against Bolivia as Chile picked up their first victory

He was then in action from the start against Bolivia as Chile picked up their first victory

He was then in action from the start against Bolivia as Chile picked up their first victory 

But Rueda was soon dismissed and has since taken charge of Colombia. Martin Lasarte came into replace him and the Chileans convinced Brereton they were still very keen to bring him into the squad.

He visited the Chilean Embassy to complete the paperwork for dual nationality and his Chilean passport and joined the squad for the first time for World Cup qualifiers in May, adding his mother’s maiden name Diaz to wear Brereton Diaz on the back of his shirt.

Brereton’s full international debut came from the bench in a 1-1 draw against Argentina in Rio on Monday, as South America paid its tribute to Diego Maradona with a spectacular light show, and he started up front on Friday against Bolivia in Cuiaba. 

Chile’s next fixture is on Monday against Uruguay.

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