After 120 minutes of rough playing, questionable officiating, and two red cards, Argentina and Chile found themselves in the exact same place as last year’s Copa America Final: a penalty shootout for the trophy.
However, the stakes were higher this year. Messi was trying to lead his team to his first international tournament victory after losing his last three final appearances. To make it even more nerve-wracking for the Chileans, star-player Alexis Sanchez was substituted in extra-time and could not participate.
It seemed to be going Argentina’s way after Arturo Vidal had his penalty saved. But, Messi, in a very unusual manner, sent his shot over the crossbar. That shot left Argentina visually shaken, and gave Chile some confidence. Chile went on to win 4-2 and lifted the Copa America trophy for the second year in a row over Argentina.
No one was more disturbed than the Argentinean captain, who expressed his feelings after the game. “The national team is over for me,” Messi 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.”
Now, many speculate that Messi was just speaking in frustration of the moment. However, he has criticized the Argentinean Football Association multiple times in the past and this could be the final straw for the world’s best player.