Sports

Argentina boss defiant but Messi World Cup hopes hang in balance

Argentina boss defiant but Messi World Cup hopes hang in balance

The table is large and there are a lot of numbers, some of them bigger than 3, so we're here to simplify it for you.

Argentina are facing the possibility of failing to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1970.

Brazil is already in. Uruguay is next with 28 and is widely expected to qualify.

The PSG forward and the Argentine captain always publicly showed their friendship during the Brazilian's time at Barcelona, so it would come as no surprise that Neymar wants to see Messi in Russian Federation come next summer. Brazil, with a record five world championships, has qualified for every World Cup.

Uruguay is already assured of at least a playoff though, in reality, it's virtually a cinch for a top-four finish.

Argentina could ruled out from the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 but they are confident and determined to beat Ecuador in their home ground.

Argentina will qualify automatically with a win on Wednesday unless Chile upset Brazil and Colombia beat Peru. It's not gonna happen - Luis Suarez is going to the World Cup.

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Will they roll over for Chile?

Argentina can simplify the equation for their nervous fans, however, if they manage to take all three points in Quito when the action kicks off at 6:30pm local time (2330 GMT). A win and Chile is in. A draw would also be good enough to go straight through if there is a victor in the Peru versus Colombia match, Chile lose by two or Paraguay fail to win.

Chile can also reach an automatic berth, or a playoff, with a loss.

"We will continue searching, as we did with Venezuela and Peru".

Argentina have clumsily rumbled through qualification in South America, collecting 25 points compared to Brazil's haul of 38.

With the only group leader assured of an automatic qualification from the UEFA section, Ronaldo and company face the real threat of finishing second and navigating a potentially tricky play-off tie in order to qualify for Russian Federation 2018. Los Cafeteros are in for sure with a win.

"I can't imagine what it is like for others; they must be having trouble sleeping".

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Brazil centre back Miranda, however, was more forthright.

The match against Peru was typical of so many Argentina matches in the Messi era.

In case of a draw, Argentina will need other results to go in their favour as well. Even if players try to foul him, they can't get near'.

The visitors will hope the hosts will be disinterested in a tie that means nothing to them in technical terms, but Ecuador will not lie down with the opportunity to embarrass and humble Argentina.

In a match that encapsulates all the rising tension of the last few matchdays, fourth-placed Colombia, who have 26 points to their name, travel to fifth-placed Peru, who lie a point behind them.

Argentina are yet to win in the Qualifiers since the arrival of Jorge Sampaoli. With teams loading up defensively against Lionel Messi, La Albiceleste have scored 16 goals in 17 matches, a mark only better than Bolivia.

In the end, the match ended up in similar fashion to that of 1969, with Peru holding out for a 0-0 draw. Therefore, winning against Ecuador is imperative if they want to keep themselves alive.

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