Déjà vu from a year ago for Lionel Messi and Argentina, as they fall, yet again, to Chile in penalties. A game with wasted chances by both teams ended 0-0 after extra time and got sent to the dreaded penalty shootout. It was there, once again, that Chile won by a score of 4-2.
In reality, Argentina had no excuse not to win the game in regulation. Higuain, for the third straight year, had a golden opportunity to open the score, and once again, he failed. It was the 2014 World Cup final part two for the Napoli striker. It was as if his goal scoring abilities were once again taken from him when he needed them most. A simple 1v1 against Bravo, and he shot it wide…again.
Overall, Chile didn’t even seem interested in attacking. They had possession of the ball for chunks of the game, but they didn’t really seem to cause much trouble for Sergio Romero. During the 120 minutes, only Vargas and Alexis Sanchez had a dangerous goal-scoring opportunity.
On the other hand, Argentina was constantly attacking, whether it was by moving the ball around and waiting for an opening that never truly happened or by counterattack. In the end, Argentina had two marvelous chances to put the game away, but they couldn’t.
Apart from Higuain’s attempt, Sergio Agüero also had his potential moment to shine. A play very similar to his league-winning goal for Manchester City in 2012, in which, he shot it low and to the keepers left. Now fast-forward to 2016 with an almost identical play just slightly farther away from goal. This time, Agüero sends it to the nosebleeds.
As a player, penalty shootouts are the absolute worst. It didn’t matter that Argentina played better and had the better chances. It was instantly a game of nervousness and luck. A game that, once again, Chile dominated with ease.
So many things could be discussed under the “what ifs”. What if the referee doesn’t give Rojo a red card for what, at least in my eyes, seemed to be a fair tackle? What if Higuain puts it away? What if Di Maria doesn’t get subbed off? What if Agüero makes that shot? Nonetheless, we can’t play those games. It didn’t happen. Chile repeated the title, and that’s the end of that.