Soccer·Recap

Copa America: Chile repeats with penalty-kicks win over Argentina

Chile upset favourites Argentina with a penalty shootout victory in the Copa America final on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to retain their title in the world's oldest continental soccer competition.

Lionel Messi, who sailed a penalty kick, says he's retiring from international soccer

Chile players celebrate after defeating Argentina 4-2 in penalty kicks in the Copa America final on Sunday. (Matt Slocum/The Associated Press)

Lionel Messi has never won an international soccer title, and he may never get the chance again.

Argentina lost 4-2 in penalty kicks, allowing Chile to win consecutive Copa America titles against the Messi and the Argentines.

After the loss, Messi told reporters he was retiring from international soccer. 

Messi put his penalty kick over the crossbar, Francisco Silva converted Chile's shootout finale and La Roja won their second straight Copa America title by beating Argentina 4-2 on penalty kicks following a 0-0 tie Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Playing two days after his 29th birthday, Messi lost a final for the third year in a row following an extra-time defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup and a penalty-kicks loss to host Chile in last year's Copa America. The five-time FIFA Player of the Year has won four Champions League titles and eight La Liga crowns with Barcelona, but has never taken a trophy with Argentina's senior team.

For its 100th anniversary, South America's championship was expanded to 16 nations and played in the United States, and Argentina was hoping to win its first major title since 1993.

Argentina's Lionel Messi reacts after losing the Chile in the Copa America final. (Julio Cortez/The Associated Press)

In an ill-tempered match that included an ejection on each side and eight yellow cards, the match was scoreless through regulation and 30 minutes of extra time, with Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain missing a clear goal-scoring opportunity for the third straight final.

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved the opening kick by Arturo Vidal, and up stepped Messi, the best player of his generation and considered alongside Brazil's Pele and Argentina's Diego Maradona as the sport's greatest ever. But in the minds of many, he needs a title with his nation to solidify that claim.

"Messi's numbers are unparalleled and I think they'll remain that way forever, because it's impossible for a football player to do what Messi has done," said Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who is from Argentina. "My generation can't compare him to Maradona — that's for my generation, because of what Maradona did for Argentine soccer. But I think the best player ever played today here in the United States."

Messi sent his shot over Claudio Bravo — his Barcelona teammate — and into the stands. Messi turned, bowed his head and clenched both fists in frustration.

Nicolas Castillo and Charles Aranguiz converted their kicks for Chile, and Javier Mascherano and Sergio Aguero made theirs, leaving the teams tied 2-2 after three rounds.

Jean Beausejour put Chile ahead, and Bravo dived to his right, saving Lucas Biglia's shot and bringing up Silva, a 30-year-old midfielder. Messi briefly pulled his jersey of his face, as if not wanting to watch.

Romero dived to his left and the shot went in to his right, giving Chile another title.

Messi crouched over, as if in pain, then got up, took off his captain's armband and walked to the bench, where he was consoled by Angel Di Maria. After Messi came back on the field, Aguero put a hand on one of Messi's shoulders.

With files from CBC Sports

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