March 20 2018

Messi to miss World cup?

March 20 2018, 11:34 | Ann Lamb

Sampaoli knows his side have a tough task ahead of him in the next nine days

Sampaoli knows his side have a tough task ahead of him in the next nine days

Despite losing 2-0 against Bolivia in the impossible conditions of La Paz, Peru was later awarded the full 3 points for a win after it was found that Bolivian player Nelson Cabrera was ineligible, due to having played for Paraguay, the country of his birth.

His return, however, didn't spark a slumbering Albiceleste to life.

Lionel Messi's form has been one of the biggest problems for Argentina, as the striker has scored only four goals in the nine games in which he has appeared.

The result on Friday morning saw Jorge Sampaoli's men drop out of the qualification spots for next year's showpiece tournament.

During Argentina's scoreless draw against Peru on Thursday evening, the former Real Madrid midfielder suffered a nasty fall after colliding with the turf.

Argentina will start today's crunch World Cup qualifier against Peru with a mind on all out attack in the hope of gaining the three points that would ease the pressure on them for a place in Russian Federation next year, coach Jorge Sampaoli has said. The opposite happened, with Argentina lacking any sort of composure in front of goal.

But, Argentina are also aware of the threat Peru bring to the table.

Following the draw with Peru, Sampaoli, who faces the sack if Argentina do not make it to the World Cup, said: 'Today Argentina was far superior to Peru, playing with a lot of authority.

Chile will hope to seal their berth in Russian Federation when they travel to the already qualified Brazil next week. I am very hopeful and excited for what is to come. Their win shoots them up from sixth to third and places their World Cup fate in their own hands.

La Albiceleste are now in a major battle to win a place at Russian Federation 2018 and have really made it hard for themselves with recent results. However, the two-time World Cup winners are in serious danger not making it to Russian Federation next summer.

In Group E, neutral's favorites Uganda are still in with a chance of qualifying for a first ever World Cup.

But strangely, even in defeat, Argentina could yet secure the play-off berth, while victory would not guarantee a top-four finish.

What does each team need to do to qualify?

Just one round of qualifying matches remains in South America.

In the video below, while receiving treatment, Gago starts shouting at Argentina's physios: "I don't care".

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