The Incredible Moment That Knocked Chile Out Of The World Cup
All the talk before last night was about the possibility of Argentina not making the World Cup next summer. By the time the matches were over it was Chile and USA left with egg on their faces and Chile won't be happy with how they were knocked out.
Heading into the last matches in South American qualifying for next summer's World Cup last night there was a hell of a lot of things that could have happened but with Argentina in sixth, and out of the qualifying places, they looked in danger.
Lionel Messi and his countrymen travelled to Ecuador, where they hadn't won since 2001, and despite going 1-0 down in the first minute were able to turn it around thanks to a Messi hat-trick.
Scenes as Messi scores his third and sends Argentina through. Image: PA
That left Colombia, Peru and Chile fighting for the final two places, one automatic and one to face a play-off with New Zealand. Chile were in pole position but their loss to Brazil left them needing a winner in Peru and Colombia's match.
With time ticking away Peru, 1-0 down, won an indirect free-kick but Paolo Guerrero made a mistake and instead went for goal only keeper David Ospina also made an error of judgement and thought he needed to save the free-kick. His touch meant the goal counted and knocked Chile out.
Of course if Ospina had simply stood and let the ball go in then it would have been a goal kick to Colombia and that would have left Peru still needing a goal to get the point they needed.
Instead Colombia finished in fourth on 27 points and took the last automatic qualification spot, Peru finished in fifth with 26 points and will enter the play-off and Chile finished in sixth, also on 26 points but two goals behind on goal difference.
Paulinho scores in Brazil's win over Chile. Image: PA
Chile's 3-0 loss to Brazil swung the goal difference and had they only lost 2-1 last night they and Peru would have had an identical record but, having beaten Peru twice in qualification, it would have been the Chileans playing New Zealand.
The World Cup won't be without Lionel Messi but it will be without Alexis Sanchez!