The big party the Copa America Centenario is now over. However, the consequences of what happened last night between Chile and Argentina might alter the results of the FIFA World Cup 2018. Chile won the Cup for the second consecutive time with a final score of 4–2, and Alexis Sánchez won the golden ball. Apparently, this was too much for Lionel Messi and in an interview given when Argentina’s selection was leaving the field, he said he would not play with his country’s selection anymore.

Copa America Centenario 2016’s final was full of action, and both teams left it all on the field. By the end of the game, both teams were left with ten players. As predicted in previous articles, La Roja used a team playstyle against the Argentinians who were vastly superior in the individual game. However, Juan Antonio Pizzi’s strategy was also very aggressive in the literal sense of the word. Chile was playing rough which some say affected the results. By the end of the match, the Chilean selection summed up 22 fouls almost doubling their opponent’s.

Chile wins Copa America
Claudio Bravo, Chile’s goalkeeper, holds the trophy celebrating their victory against Argentina. Credit:

Messi has missed around 15 penalty shots in his career

Minute 90 came, and the game was 0–0. After the complementary time, it was the same scenario. Chile and Argentina would decide everything with a stationary ball in front of the goalkeeper, with one of the most respected guardians, Claudio Bravo, who happens to be Messi’s teammate in Barcelona, this was La Rojas’s turf. Arturo Vidal was the first man to shoot, and that is a huge responsibility because the first man sets the tempo. However, Sergio Romero blocked Vidal’s shot, and the tide turned for the Albiceleste.

Choosing who is going to open the penalty shots is something that some coaches do best than others. Some teams have specialists for this kind of situations. However, Gerardo Martino, Argentina’s coach, decided to go with the most emblematic man in his team, the man that everybody wants to see playing, number 10, Lionel Messi. The Argentinian coach went all in, if he scored, the Albiceleste would gain an overwhelming impulse in addition to the advantage its goalkeeper gave it, but if he failed, the morale would have been destroyed. Unfortunately for the Albiceleste, the latter happened as the Argentinian “astro” kicked the ball over the top bar wasting the opportunity to win the game, basically.

Now, a lot of people is blaming the player, but it is important to understand that he is a human. He is considered the best player in the world, and yet, he is known for not being particularly good at penalties. In fact, he has missed around 15 penalty shots in his whole career which means, that in penalty shots, Lionel Messi is as good as any other player in the selection or maybe worse. That is OK, he cannot be perfect, but his coach should have known better.

Also, in the first half of the game, Chile’s selection made a mistake in the defense and Higuain stole a ball in the Chilean half of the field. Then, he bested the defense, but once he was left alone against Claudio Bravo, he did a poor execution missing the clearest goal opportunity of the whole match. The Argentinians shot a lot of times against the arch, but Barcelona’s goalkeeper was a concrete wall.

“That’s it, the selection is over for me. This is the fourth final, and it’s not for me. Regrettably, I sought for it, it was what I wanted the most. It didn’t happen, but I think that’s it,” said a frustrated Lionel Messi in an interview after the game.

Is Messi a sore loser?

 Obviously, Argentina losing Copa America, again, was not Messi’s fault, but in spite of that, he basically quit the selection in an interview after the game. In fact, the reporter who was interviewing him was rather sympathetic and almost incredibly worried about what the soccer player was saying. Even though he said he had made up his mind, he had just lost a very important game, so there is still hope for the Albiceleste.

If he actually puts his money where his mouth is, the situation for the next FIFA World Cup would drastically change. For instance, Argentina is the main favorite among the experts to win the next World Cup, but those predictions heavily rely on the participation of the country’s superstar.

Also, the words from the Barcelona’s attacker immediately impacted the European soccer community. Arsenal fans started posting on social media that Alexis Sánchez had retired Messi from international soccer. It is too soon to take anything for granted, but Sunday could really be remembered as the day the best soccer player in the world quit his own selection.

Source: Metro UK