Photo via Getty

At this point, it’s pretty hard to dismiss out of hand the notion that Gonzalo Higuaín—unquestionably one of the best forwards in the sport, fresh off a historically great season—might be a sleeper agent embedded in the Argentine national team for the express purpose of bringing the team, the country, and, most of all, the world’s best player as much heartbreak and sorrow as possible.

As you know by now, last night Argentina lost to Chile in the final of the Copa América Centenario. These are easily the two best teams in South America, two of the very best national teams in the entire world; one coming out on top of the other by the razor-thin margin that is a penalty shootout is not in itself a shocker. (While Chile and Argentina may be near equals on the pitch, though, the former overcome their relative talent deficit with a long-standing commitment to a comprehensive playing style implemented by some of the best coaches, while the latter fritter away some of their innate superiority of ability with questionable management.)

What is genuinely distressing is the way this Argentina loss, and their nearly identical penalty shootout loss to Chile the previous summer in the final of this same competition, and their 2014 World Cup final loss, feel so familiar. Each loss has involved the same golden generation of Argentine stars hoping to finally get over the hump and deliver their proud nation from a painful major trophy drought; making it one step away from immortality; and, in the decisive moments that separate winning from losing, unbridled joy from the black hole of despair, vomiting all over themselves and losing. And the Vomiter-In-Chief is always Gonzalo Higuaín.

Here is the single best chance from last night’s game, which sees Higuaín—and to reiterate, this guy just scored more goals in Italy’s storied Serie A this season than anyone ever had—go one-on-one with Chile’s keeper with all kinds of time and space, and then file another ignominious entry in his depressingly fat dossier of finishing atrocities:

You can’t do this, Higuaín. Not after the season you just had. Not after having last year’s Copa América title on your boot with a wide-open net in front of you with no time on the clock, which you somehow conspired to miss. Not after gagging on that extremely similar one-on-one early on in the World Cup final in 2014 that would’ve changed the game. Not after so many confounding misses in the big moments that you so regularly bury in less fraught times. Argentina’s luck in these past three finals and Higuaín’s meltdowns are verging on the unbelievable.

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Rather than celebrating the long-awaiting trophy Argentina’s players so richly deserve—none more so than Lionel Messi, who wants nothing more than to win something for his country in hopes that they’ll finally accept him as one of their own—we were forced to endure another heartbreaking loss and another glimpse of Messi and his compatriots absolutely distraught at their failure:

Messi and some of Argentina’s other stars have threatened to retire from the national team after last night’s defeat—as much a reflection of their beefs with the larger structural issues endemic in Argentine soccer governance as of the anguish of yet another tournament loss. Hopefully this is just the pain talking, and Messi and Javier Mascherano and Ángel Di María and the like continue fighting on to bring their country glory. But Higuaín? Maybe it would be best if he did just go away.