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Chile Beats Argentina in Penalties, Messi Retires?

The Copa America concluded last night as Chile beat Argentina in a penalty shootout (4-2). The atmosphere was electric throughout the regular 90 minutes and extra time, as over just over 82, 000 fans gathered at a sold-out MetLife Stadium. While the crowd was favored by Argentina, and almost every kid aged 6-60 was wearing number 10 on their back, counting on Lionel Messi, the greatest soccer player in the world of all-time, to lead his country to victory.

Argentina got into the final beating the host team, USA, 4-0, in a game that was dominated by Argentina, the US never had a shot. Chile beat Columbia 2-0, in a closer match, however still Chile controlled the game. In the third place game the US lost 1-0, which makes everyone question whether or not Jurgen Klinsmann deserves to continue to lead this team. If you are asking my opinion from the begenning, a German national player, should never be allowed to manage the US international team, however that is long past us after a decent showing in the 2014 World Cup. I believe that Klinsmann did do enough to keep his job for the time begin, however the federation should not put Landon Donovan out of the question moving forward.

The final, while not a dull game, was more exciting play back and forth, that resulted in a few scoring opportunities, one or two more quality chances for Argentina, but no one could capitalize. Both teams were given reds in the first 45 and the refs were questions heavily, however when it came down to it, it didn’t decide the game. The game came down to penalty kicks where no one really has an advantage in the long run. Bravo for Chile had a great tournament and always plays well with FC Barcelona, while Sergio Romero for Argentina is a very solid goalie for the international team and he plays club for Manchester United. Both serve as the captains of their country and made big saves throughout the game to stay at 0-0, but to be honest neither of them had an advantage in PK’s. Right off the bat you would think Argentina would have the advantage from the spot, as Messi and Aguero are typically lights out from the spot.

PK’s starts with a big save from Romero, but what followed was potentially the biggest downfall from the greatest player ever, you will ever see in an international game of soccer. Lionel Messi who had never missed a penalty kick before, sky rockets a shot over the net, and the game is at a 0-0 after 1 shot each. Now some say Messi missed because of lack of focus due to fatigue which is very possible, given the circumstances of his injury and how grueling a soccer game can be after you play 120+ minutes then still have to focus in on scoring a goal from a set spot. Messi had the weight of his country on his shoulders. He out of anyone in the world in a team game is relied upon more than anyone else. Go through other world cup rosters and Argentina is expected to win based on the sole fact of Lionel Messi starting for them. Regardless Messi, missed and Argentina was demoralized, while Chile was uplifted.

Each team made their two next shots, as both were nearly perfect, as the goalies had no opportunity to make a save. Chile shot first in PK’s and they made their fourth shot. So they were up 3-2, with Argentina to shoot, and this was the deciding moment of the game. Bravo guessed the shot right, and made a huge save to give his country and Francisco Silva the chance to win the game. He converted and that was it for Argentina. La Roja, what Chile is known as, or the Red in Spanish, won the Copa America Centenario, or 100th year of the Copa America. Which means Chile winning the Copa America last year, and now twice in a row is not a fluke and in fact legit, and also that they should be a force to be reckon with coming up in the Confederation’s Cup, and into the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

However more importantly this means that the greatest soccer player in the world, Lionel Messi, tried to put his country on his back and failed 3 summers in a row, becoming the runner up in 2 Copa America’s to Chile, and losing the World Cup final to Germany back in 2014. A devastating blow for Argentina.

The bigger news coming out of this tournament and loss for Argentina is the rumor that Lionel Messi may retire from international soccer. He was quoted saying “This is not for me”. Which comes as a shock to many, because club football is great, however to win something for your country is above all else. If Messi could bring a World Cup back to his homeland Argentina, nothing else would satisfy him more than the biggest weigh that will be on his shoulders for the rest of his life. His PK miss may never be lifted from his shoulders, my guess is when he scores his first international goal in a major tournament it may relieve the pressure, but until he hoists a trophy for his country, it means nothing, but his biggest defeat and downfall.

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