Messi to miss World cup?

Pic Reuters

South American champions Chile, meanwhile, resurrected their qualification hopes with a thrilling 2-1 win over Ecuador in Santiago.

The win was historic as Peru had never won a game against Ecuador away from home but the team showed a solid effort worthy of the result.

Argentina, who have an 80 per cent chance of reaching the World Cup, have failed to win their last three qualifiers, losing at Bolivia in March and drawing Uruguay in August and Venezuela in September.

While this would ultimately take a massive burden off the shoulders of Messi and elevate Argentina above the status of perennial also-rans, there's still the small matter of finding a striker that won't fluff the myriad of opportunities that Messi creates.

Though not everyone in Syria sees the national team's rise as an uplifting, against all odds story.

Chile, who are third, go to already-qualified Brazil, while Uruguay, who are all-but assured of their place in Russian Federation because of their vastly superior goal difference, need just a draw at home to already-eliminated Bolivia to guarantee qualification.

Peru's Argentina-born coach Ricardo Garcea was happier. They have not missed out on qualifying for the World Cup since 1970, when it was held in Mexico.

"Our situation is not very comfortable", Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said, "but it depends on us".

Lionel Messi, who is Argentina's all time record goalscorer, has started the season in typical fashion, scoring 11 goals in seven league games.

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A draw would also be good enough - if Brazil beat Chile by more than one goal and if Argentina draw and Paraguay fail to win.

It is insane to think that Argentina will not somehow make it to next year's World Cup. The team around Lionel Messi now relies on power of legendary Stadium of Boca Juniors.

17 games are done and dusted - only one more fixture remains.

"We love you", cried the Mexican commentator. As a result, they play each other twice (home and away), resulting in a total of 18 games each.

Despite boasting the considerable talents of Arjen Robben, Daley Blind and Kevin Strootman, the Netherlands - still reeling from a failure to qualify for Euro 2016 - could yet miss out on successive global tournaments.

Argentina's fortunes largely rest on how other teams perform next week, when they will meet already-eliminated Ecuador who now sit two places below in the table.

"I remain confident we'll be in the World Cup", he said.

These teams are already qualified for World Cup champion Germany secured mselves with a victory over Norrn Ireland World Cup ticket.

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