Chile win Copa America as Messi announces retirement


It was deja vu as Chile beat Argentina again in a Copa America final on penalties but an even bigger story emerged after the game when Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football.

The final was an exciting one as both teams went head to head, Chile were looking to win back to back Copa America’s as they were champions from 2015 and Argentina were looking to win their first major tournament since 1993. Messi the greatest player of a generation was supposed to make that difference but his team could not find a goal and after extra time the score was locked at 0-0.

And so to penalties and Messi who had been one of the players of the tournament incredibly missed his penalty as Chile belted in their remaining ones and became champions once again after Biglia missed another.

Credit had to be given to Chile who came under pressure but also went toe to toe with Argentina. They had more possession and more completed passes and had 2 shots on goal. But Argentina only had one more and it seemed on reflection that the favourites did not dominate a final that they were supposed to.

Moments after Chile celebrated an unexpected win even though they were the champions Messi was interviewed and that is when he gave his huge bombshell. Messi said: “It’s tough, it’s not the time for analysis, In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it’s not for me. That’s the way I feel right now, it’s a huge sadness once again and I missed the penalty that was so important. I tried so hard to be a champion with Argentina. But it didn’t happen. I couldn’t do it. I think it’s best for everyone, for me and for many people who want it. The choice for me is over, it is a decision. I tried many times.

Gerardo Martino the Argentina coach reflected: “The burden of the consecutive games [lost] has been accumulating these last two years. He feels like you would expect a player to feel after playing and losing a final.”

The question that the world’s media are now asking is was Messi’s retirement speech just said in the heat of the moment? At 29 and with a World Cup just two years away it would seem odd for the world’s best player not to participate and change his mind. Only time will tell, but for now Argentina are still seeking their first trophy in a generation.

What are the Best Teams Left in Copa Centenario?

Euro 2016 may be grabbing most of the headlines this month, but the 100th Copa America has already reached its quarterfinal stage, and there’s been some interesting action along the way. Brazil fizzled without Neymar, Argentina thrived (largely) without Lionel Messi, and hopeful contenders like Mexico and the United States have looked fairly strong.

Argentina v Panama: Group D - Copa America Centenario

Now the Americas are down to eight remaining teams, but how do they stack up? Here’s a ranking of the remaining teams, with action scheduled to resume on Thursday.

There’s really not much debate about which team has looked best thus far, particularly with Brazil having drastically underperformed. Other football pundits ranking the remaining teams have noted that Argentina is the only team to win all its matches, and frankly, they did it with ease. Ten goals forced to just one against, and a combined score of 8-0 in its final two matches, helped this team to absolutely dominate Group D. Argentina will next face Venezuela.

The two through four spots on this list are fairly tight, and Colombia did end the group stage with a whimper, falling 2-3 to Costa Rica. Still, behind James Rodriguez and Co. this is a formidable side. The Colombians showed a little bit of a tendency to let up with a lead—both in individual matches and in the group at large—but when they’re locked in they’re probably the best team on the bottom half of the bracket. They’ll take on Peru in the quarters.

United States
The U.S. lost its opening match to Colombia, 0-2, but didn’t look horrible in the effort. More importantly, the team then rebounded to crush a decent Costa Rica team and defeat Paraguay despite being a man down for half the match. The U.S. has shown its trademark grit and determination thus far and seems to have the talent to facilitate a deep run this time around. Ecuador is next up for the Yanks.

The Mexicans might have earned the number-two spot on this list a few days ago, as El Tri looked better than everyone but Argentina through two matches. Indeed, heading into the final group match the football betting oddsmakers tabbed Mexico to stay perfect in Group C, and it seemed like a good pick. However, El Tri stumbled against a pretty weak Venezuela team, ending up in a 1-1 draw. And things only get tougher moving forward with a match against Chile in the quarters.

Chile was the only team in Group D to manage a goal against Argentina and looked competitive in a 1-2 loss to the favourites. Chile also won the event a year ago, which means many of the players who are active this time around know what it takes. The upcoming match against Mexico may be the most tantalising of the Copa quarters.

The Peruvians face a difficult task in taking on Colombia, but the team will no doubt get a mental boost from the fact that it already took down Brazil. There was controversy surrounding that Brazil win, but Peru is in the quarters nonetheless. The talent level isn’t quite on par with the top five teams on this list, but it could be a competitive match against the Colombians.

Ecuador will attempt to stop the U.S. in its tracks in the quarterfinal round. Ecuador had a little bit of a strange run through the group stage, drawing both Brazil and Peru before managing a vital 4-0 defeat of Haiti to advance. Like Peru, its talent level is lower than the top contenders, but this is still a tricky and capable side that will give the U.S. a tough match.

Venezuela is the only genuine underdog remaining in the tournament. Most expected Uruguay to accompany Mexico out of Group C, but Venezuela stood up well to both sides, defeating Uruguay and forcing the aforementioned draw with Mexico in the final group match. Even so, this side should be outmatched against Argentina in the quarters.