Why Lionel Messi could miss the World Cup finals in Russian Federation

Why Lionel Messi could miss the World Cup finals in Russian Federation

All throughout the week, there has been talk that Argentina's path to next summer's World Cup has been a tricky one.

The top four teams in the South America group qualify automatically, while the fifth placed team will advance to an intercontinental playoff.

Peru has been one of the more surprising teams in these CONMEBOL qualifiers, now in fourth place with 24 points.

Argentina continued their disappointing form with a goalless draw at home to Peru, leaving them level on points with Peru in sixth place.

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Lionel Messi, Mauro Icardi, Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria as well as Gonzalo Higuain with each other constitute one of one of the most enviable global attacking devices on the planet, yet the Albiceleste remain in major threat of not receiving next year's World Mug in Russian Federation.

However, having failed to win any of their last four qualifying games, it's not unrealistic that Argentina may fail to beat Ecuador, who they lost to at home in their opening qualifier.

Despite the high stakes, coach Gareca says he has no plans to man-mark Lionel Messi.

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Brazil have already qualified for Russian Federation on 38 points, while Uruguay (28) need just a draw from their final game against Bolivia to advance.

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

Oscar Cardozo bundled in the equaliser for Paraguay in the 89th minute and then Tony Sanabria punished poor goalkeeping by David Ospina to poke in a second in injury time to clinch the win.

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 should arguably have already finished up qualification as Brazil have, yet they now find themselves needing to beat Peru.

Although over 2.5 goals can be backed in at odds of just 1/2 (1.50), both teams to score at 21/20 (2.05) is a more enticing bet, and one that has landed in 10 of Peru's 16 matches so far.

In Barranquilla, Colombia threw away what looked to be a certain victory that would have put them within touching distance of qualification as they crashed to a 2-1 defeat to Paraguay.

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

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