Messi & Co. leave another final- empty handed. For me the most heartbreaking scene was watching Messi miss the penalty and suffer for the remainder of the shootout. I don’t think anyone else wants it as bad as he does. The constant criticism and negativity for not winning a national title is probably overwhelming. He looked thoughtful, uncertain, and deja-vu kicked in as he prepared for this penalty. He did everything he could during the game but this cannot be a one-man-band. Mascherano did a great job, however the clear goals that Higuain missed are unforgivable. Argentina had great shots in the first half. We all know these opportunities only come once and if missed can be the biggest regret. Rojo being red carded affected Argentina, Di Maria not playing at his best, and now Messi having to create every single chance into a goal had the team in a bind.
With one man down, Chile was able to stay afloat better than expected. During the second half, Chile really came out to pressure and finalize the game. However, they were not lucky at scoring during regular time either. Bravo, Barcelona’s goalkeeper, proved to be the man of the match. He had numerous saves and when it came down to penalties he did his job. Chile is proving to be a powerhouse in CONMEBOL. This is a team that will continue to get far. Vidal did not play well, missing his penalty as well, but Sanchez continued to shine. Honestly, this will go down as the best generation of players for Chile.
Can we even put a name to the man in the middle, also known as ‘referee’ Heber Roberto Lopes. Yes, we knew this was going to be a rough game. Chile typically leads this type of plays. The referee made the game feel choppy, no flow, constantly being stopped. That affected the way the teams continued playing, yellow cards and red being tossed around. This type of referee is not worthy of such a final. Both Chile and Argentina had complained about him because of his track record. When a referee is talked about you know it is not for good calls.
Nerve-wracking. If i had to pick one word to summarize the 120+ minutes of this game, that’s the best way to describe it. Very even, tough, challenging game that’s why it led to the dramatic end. If I had to say if the better team won, I would say the team that made the penalties won.
Update: Messi just announced his retirement from the national team.