Lionel Messi Misses Penalty As Chile Win Copa America
Destined to win everything he possibly can with club side FC Barcelona, it seems Lionel Messi just isn't meant to win an international tournament with his beloved Argentina.
La Pulga's record since the 2014 World Cup stands at: Three years. Three finals. Three losses. Three heartbreaks. And it seems to keep on getting more painful.
Argentina have lost yet another final, this time at the Copa America Centenario. La Albiceleste were beaten 4-2 on penalties by the same side that beat them last year after Lionel Messi and Lucas Biglia failed to convert their spot-kicks.
Messi's miss wasn't directly decisive in the outcome of the shootout though. Arturo Vidal had already missed the opening penalty and Leo's failure to convert merely kept the scores even when it should have given Argentina an advantage.
Instead, what should be lamented is the fact that Argentina failed to score a goal in any of the finals - which proved to be their ultimate downfall. A lot of the blame for that will fall at the magical feet of Messi from sceptics and the media alike.
The 5-time Ballon d'Or failed to really influence the game - as he had struggled to do in the two finals before this one - and not enough was done to take advantage of Argentina's dominance in the opening half; especially when Chile were down to 10-men before Marcus Rojo's red levelled things up.
The game looked destined to be heading for penalties then, as Argentina missed chance after chance - with Higuain and Aguero being notably wasteful - and Chile defending resolutely and growing into the game.
When it came round to it, haunted by their failures last year, La Albiceleste mentally didn't really stand a chance against the strong-willed Chileans.
It was a final with a golden opportunity for Argentina, one which they wasted, but also one that they could never really claim. If they were to lose, as they did, Messi and co. would be branded as bottlers by those who dislike them. If they were to win, the triumph would be labelled a 'joke' based on the fact the tournament itself is deemed as a celebration of CONMEBOL and not the real Copa America.
Messi and his compatriots will now go away to lick their wounds then and get ready for the new club season. You'd be a fool not to expect them to return better and stronger in the face of adversity, and an idiot to write Messi off again.
Next season, expect The Flea to be a man on a mission - and don't expect him to be stopped. He doesn't take well to defeat...