The Argentina-Chile rivalry offered little in the way of competition for almost 100 years. From their first meetings in 1910 up until 2007, Argentina’s record against their neighbours read W55 D22 L5.
The head-to-head from 2008 even reads as four wins to three losses. But those defeats have hurt, while the most recent reverse even steered Lionel Messi towards international retirement.
Copa Americas seldom come in consecutive years, but there was a sense of déjà vu when Chile edged past Argentina on penalties in the 2016 final, 12 months after their first triumph in identical circumstances.
It was another final disappointment for Messi. Having been surrounded during 120 minutes of goalless football, the Barcelona forward then missed a penalty in the shootout as Argentina suffered their third straight defeat in a major final.
The heartache of two Copa America losses straight after a World Cup final defeat to Germany in 2014 all proved too much.
"For me, the national team is over," he said after the 2016 defeat by Chile. "I've done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion."
It's been four finals, I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over. It's very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.
Cue street rallies and a flood of online messages. Argentina still needed Messi, and even the country's president urged the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to reconsider his decision.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Crunch qualifier offers Messi perfect opportunity to avenge demons against Chile