SANTIAGO, July 1 (Reuters) - Chile striker Mauricio Pinilla has tattooed on his back the last-ditch World Cup goal attempt that rattled the bar in their second round defeat by Brazil, local media reported on Tuesday.
'La Roja' almost clinched an upset victory against the hosts in extra time on Saturday when substitute Pinilla's powerful shot struck the woodwork with Brazil fans holding their breath.
The thrilling game finished 1-1 minutes later and went to a penalty shootout, which Brazil won in Belo Horizonte to edge into the quarter-finals while devastated Chile went home.
"One Centimetre from Glory," reads the tagline next to a drawing depicting the shot on Pinilla's lower back. The ball hitting the crossbar radiates like a sun in the tattoo.
"He said it was an inerasable wound," tattoo artist Marlon Parra told newspaper La Tercera. "That he hasn't stopped thinking about that moment, in what could have happened if the ball had been a few centimetres lower."
Just like Pinilla, soccer-mad Chile is still coming to terms with what could have been. The country of 17 million people is brimming with acid jokes that the crossbar haunts them in their sleep or is the first thing they see when they wake up.
Compounding the gloom is the fact that Brazil have now eliminated the Andean team at four World Cups, including the 1962 semi-finals when Chile hosted the tournament.
"What he wanted to do was leave a record of the suffering he's going through," Parra said of Pinilla. (Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; editing by Ken Ferris)