Alexis Sanchez was having a fantastic 2014 World Cup campaign until the penalty shootout in Chile’s round-of-16 clash against Brazil at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.
The 25-year-old Barcelona forward was a key player for his country in the group stage of the tournament, as he helped them secure a runners-up spot in Group B – ahead of 2010 World Cup winners Spain.
It was Sanchez who equalised for Chile against their South American rivals just past the half-hour mark from close range.
The former Udinese star was a danger for the Brazil defenders throughout the 90 minutes and then in extra time.
However, when it mattered most, Sanchez failed – he failed to get his spot kick past Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar in the shootout.
Sanchez stepped up to take Chile’s second penalty in the shootout, but Cesar, still on the books of Queens Park Rangers, kept it out.
It eventually became 2-2 in the shootout, but former West Bromwich Albion defender Gonzalo Jara could not find the net, handing Brazil a 3-2 victory.
Former Colo-Colo star Sanchez is regarded as one of the best players in the world and has the versatility to either play upfront with another forward or on the wide in a three-man attack.
Sanchez has been strongly linked with a move away from Barcelona after three years at Camp Nou, despite having made a good impact at the Spanish giants.
What Sanchez eventually decides regarding his club future remains to be seen, but for the next few days, he is certainly going to feel disappointed about his failure to convert the spot kick that could have eventually led to Chile making it through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.