Chile’s current squad won two back-to-back Copa Americas, and impressed at two different World Cups this decade, but as of Tuesday night, La Roja’s golden generation was reached its likely end. After getting whomped 3-0 by the world-beaters that are Brazil, the Chileans did not get the results they needed in order to sneak into at least the two-leg playoff slot for CONMEBOL. Instead, Chile will watch the 2018 Russia World Cup from home, and as key players hit the latter parts of their careers, it’s unlikely that they will contend for a title in the near future.
From third place at the start of the day all the way down to sixth at the end of a heartbreaking night in Brazil, Chile has no one to blame for its disappointment. Missing midfield workhorse Arturo Vidal due to suspension, and getting only a half out of dynamo Charles Aránguiz, Chile could not fight hard enough against the buzzsaw of Brazil, who remain undefeated at home in CONMEBOL qualifying. A Paulinho rebound goal and two breakaway strikes from Manchester City star Gabriel Jesus were enough to net Brazil 3 points they definitely did not need, and enough to send Chile home for good.
Elsewhere, the possible results that could have helped Chile still make it with the loss did not fall their way. Peru came back from 1 down to draw Colombia in Lima, behind a Paolo Guerrero free kick goal that sent the raucous Estadio Nacional crowd into a frenzy. Argentina rode Lionel Messi to a relatively easy 3-1 win after Ecuador scored 37 seconds in, so no help there either. The fact that Venezuela did their part by defeating Paraguay in Asunción didn’t matter for Chile, who finish above La Albirroja in a small consolation.