Copa America Centenario Final
Argentina vs Chile 0-0
(Chile wins 4-2 on penalties)
As Francisco Silva slots in the final penalty, Chile players erupt in jubilance as they celebrates their second ever pan-America title in just as many years in an almost identical repeat of last year’s Copa America final.
The game went goalless after 120 minutes, along with two-red cards to either side. It was almost a complete replay of last year’s Copa final which Chile also won on penalties, and traumatisingly cruel for Argentina, who will now go 23 years without a major trophy.
On the bench sat their shell-shocked superstar Lionel Messi, who blew his team’s first penalty attempt way over the bar. With his latest final defeat, five-time Ballon D’or winner is denied an international trophy once more after coming just fingertips away for three years running.
The Barcelona forward had been collecting goals and records ahead of the final in MetLife Stadium, but will now throw in the towel for his national team.
“For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion,” the 29-year-old said. “It’s been four finals, it’s not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over.”
It is also fair to say that the disappointments piles as Argentina had made their hopeful way through the knockout stages of the tournament with victories boasting huge margins against their opposing teams, and with Messi performing well if assists as well as goals.
Earlier, he broke Argentina’s goalscoring record by getting his 55th goal in the match against USA, exceeding Gabriel’s Batistuta’s record of 54. Even that goal was something to marvel at.
And any bookmaker would place the odds against Chile, who lost 2-1 to Argentina in the group stages. Indeed, the La Roja players looked ragged, tired and ripe for the taking during the final 10 minutes of extra time, but they proved to have the mettle to withstand any Argentinian offense when it mattered.
With that, having already been crowned champions of South America last year, they now claim their rightful spot as the best national side in the Americas.