Messi misses in PKs as Chile beats Argentina in Copa America final

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For the second straight year, the Copa America final went to penalty kicks. And for the second straight year, Argentina and Chile couldn't score in regulation, playing 120 minutes at 0-0. And, once again, Chile is the Copa America champion. After the game, Messi shocked the soccer and sports world by declaring that he no longer plans to play for Argentina.

Messi, arguably the biggest name in sports today worldwide will steal the headlines worldwide from a Chile team that is now clearly the reigning champion of both South and North America. After entering 2015 without a trophy, Chile has now won back-to-back Copa America titles, beating its South American neighbors 4-2 in penalty kicks on Sunday night.

Lionel Messi skied his penalty kick and Chile was near perfect, securing cup glory once again as Francisco Silva scored the winner.

It was a match that had very few quality opportunities, with more balls seemingly reaching the stands than the goal. Argentina looked strong and saw more of the ball, but Messi wasn't his usual self and Chile's defense led by Gary Medel caused the Argentines problems.

Back and forth they went in regulation and in extra time, with both sides playing a good portion of the game with 10 men as Argentina's Marcus Rojo and Chile's Marcelo Diaz received red cards.

In the penalty kicks, Messi was first up for Argentina after Romero saved Arturo Vidal, and he sent his into the stands inexplicably. From there, Chile wouldn't miss again while Lucas Biglia of Argentina saw his saved by Claudio Bravo in the fourth round of kicks looking to make it 3-3. Silva made his, and it was all over, with Argentina's title drought still standing from the 1993 Copa America.

In the end, Messi couldn't be calmed down as he stuck his face in his shirt and let his emotions go. It was the third straight year that Argentina had lost a cup final. Before the back-to-back Copa America defeats, Argentina fell to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

Messi will go another two years without a chance to give Argentina its first major trophy since 1993. USATSI

Relive the match with our live blog below.

LIVE BLOG


PREVIEW

What Argentina have going for them: Argentina haven't lost a game all tournament long. In fact, they haven't even had a draw. The team has scored 18 goals in just five games, allowing only two goals. This team has been in fine form all tournament long, with Messi leading the way.

What Chile have going for them: The Chileans bounced back from the opening loss to Argentina in the group stage to find their form, including a 7-0 thrashing of Mexico in the quarters and a 2-0 win over Colombia in the semis. This team is playing with plenty of confidence as it looks to repeat as Copa America champs, with new coach Juan Antonio Pizzi having the team organized and motivated, and Eduadro Vargas (four goals against Mexico) shining.

Key to the match: Containing the Argentina attack. Getting Vidal back is big for Chile, but can they stop Argentina's quickness and power up front? The favorites have scored in a variety of ways, like off the counter, off set pieces and in open play. If Chile can be physical enough in the middle and negate some of the chances Argentina have to create, they will be in a good spot. As you can see below, Argentina did it all against the U.S. and will take any chance to strike on Chile.

Predicted starting XI: ARG - Romero; Rojo, Otamendi, Funes Mori, Mercado; Banega, Mascherano, Biglia; Messi, Higuain, Di Maria; CHI - Bravo; Jara, Medel, Beausejour, Isla; Silva, Hernandez, Aranguiz, Fuenzalida; Sanchez, Vargas.

Prediction: Argentina 2, Chile 1

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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