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Argentina in Danger of Missing 2018 World Cup
11 October 2017, 12:18 | Ken Black
Argentina's hopes are hanging by a thread... but who will book their place at Russia next year
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.
Chile, who have won two Copa Americas in a row, are Argentina's biggest threat to qualification.
Celico, little known in his native Argentina, could help to dash the hopes of Lionel Messi's team if his Ecuador side deny them the win they need in their final qualifier on Tuesday in the tricky venue of Quito at high altitude in the Andes.
A World Cup finals without the presence of Messi seems preposterous, but there is a real chance the Barcelona legend will not feature in Russian Federation next summer.
Former player turned pundit Shaka Hislop reckons Messi must win the World Cup to be regarded as the greatest footballer ever. And at the same time, Peru and Colombia will play against each other and if the match will end up with draw, Argentina will enter the top four ranked and get the ticket of next World Cup directly.
By around 2:30pm on Wednesday the final phase of South American qualifying will conclude, after games in Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. They might be motivated to win, but their recent form has not been impressive since Los Amarilloshave lost their past five matches.
Hello and welcome to the crucial World Cup qualifier between Ecuador and Argentina. In their last round, they will face Ecuador and they will have to defeat Ecuador must.
In their last qualifier on Tuesday, Brazil host Chile in Sao Paulo with Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar looking to add to his 52 worldwide goals in 80 appearances. Even an Argentina tie would pull them ahead of Chile if Chile loses to Brazil by more than one goal.
Beleaguered coach Jorge Sampaoli - the third of the qualifying campaign - has called on his players to follow Messi's example.
At the moment, Colombia sit on 26 points with Peru on 25 points, while Argentina's 25 points but worse goals scored statistic sees them sit in sixth, where they would miss out on a play-off spot against the winners of Oceania: New Zealand.
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.
If Argentina loses, La Albiceleste do have a chance to qualify only if Paraguay loses and Peru loses by more goals than Argentina's loss.
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