Neymar's Promise to Bring Lionel Messi and Argentina to Russia Next Summer
Oct 11, 2017, 00:20
It's number-crunching time for Argentina and six other South American countries still vying for places in next year's World Cup in Russian Federation.
While the Ecuador team is experiencing a period of transition, they retain one crucial advantage: the altitude.
Lionel Messi'sArgentina are outside the CONMEBOL qualifying places and in danger of failing to book a spot at Russian Federation 2018 heading into Tuesday's do-or-die clash against Ecuador at altitude in Quito.
They should consider themselves lucky as they are going to play against a team, Ecuador, who have already been eliminated from the competition.
Peru held Argentina to a 0-0 draw in Buenos Aires on Thursday that left Sampaoli's team in sixth place in the 10-nation South American group, out of the qualifying places for Russian Federation.
As things stand, those two matches would take place in Wellington on November 8 with the return in Buenos Aires on November 15. Colombia's surprise defeat to Paraguay has constricted the qualifying group like a shrinking concertina.
Messi has played in nine of Argentina's 17 qualifiers.
The other pertinent match sees Paraguay face bottom of the table Venezuela in Asuncion, and Los Guaraníes will be strong favourites given what is at stake.
In addition, a Brazil victory against Chile could aid Argentina in possibly grabbing an automatic qualification spot.
Yet reports from the Argentine media suggest that he may continue to lead the line, with Benfica's Eduardo Salvio and Ángel Di María playing either side of Lionel Messi in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Friday's loss against Chile buried any chance Ecuador might have had of reaching the 2018 World Cup, so the team has nothing to play for in this game against Argentina.
"If they win and Brazil don't lose at home to Chile they qualify automatically".
"The team that hauled itself to the World Cup final three years ago was heavily reliant on the inspiration of Messi and the grit of Javier Mascherano".
Brazil has already qualified with 38 points.
"Messi is extraordinary but he is yet to win a World Cup", Infantino told the newspaper La Nacion.
Ecuador have posted a 4W 1D 3L record at home. Old enemies Brazil could do Chile a favour in Sao Paulo and send them into that play-off with New Zealand. A win would guarantee La Albiceleste at least fifth place but a draw might be enough to take them into the top four depending on results elsewhere.
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