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Will Argentina miss 2018 World Cup?

Saturday 7th October 2017
Argentina suffered their third straight draw in World Cup qualifying, Thursday. Lionel Messi and Co's backs are against the wall.

Argentina needed a win against Peru to improve their World Cup chances. La Albiceleste even changed their home venue, choosing to play in La Bombonera so that the home support would be closer and more intimidating. In the end, it was the locals who could not handle the pressure.

The hosts again looked out of ideas and sluggish up front. Lionel Messi was the only player to innovate. The other ten seemed to wait on him. As a result, Jorge Sampaoli's side turned in a lacklustre 0-0 draw against the Incas.

Worse, Chile's 2-1 win over Ecuador, left Argentina sixth in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers standings with just a game left remaining.
Argentina would not clinch a World Cup berth if the Conmebol qualification tournament ended today. Luckily for them, they have one more chance to make things right. Here are the possible scenarios:

Best-case



A win ensures the Albiceleste will at least finish fifth, and face New Zealand for a ticket to Russia.

If Chile is defeated by Brazil while Peru and Colombia draw, Argentina will claim the fourth direct qualifying berth.
Ecuador is already eliminated but that doesn't make the task any easier. Altitude jokes aside, Los Amarillos will want to finish the qualifiers on the highest note possible. They are already playing with an eye on the 2022 World Cup and can use all the momentum they can get.

Plus, Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa is 2,787 meters above sea level. Historically, it's never been a joke for the seaside Albiceleste when they must journey to higher altitudes.

Meh



Argentina seems to be all about equality at the moment. A fourth successive draw would put them on 26 points, greatly complicating matters.

Should Colombia win and Venezuela get a result against Paraguay, Sampaoli's side would squeak into fifth place. If the Selecao can put a three-goal or more whupping on the Coffee Growers, Argentina would be fourth.

Colombia could easily win against Peru, at least on the same paper that had Argentina clear favourites. But Peru has been quite solid at home during the qualifiers, and among the best form teams in the past 10 games. Meanwhile, Paraguay play at home against Venezuela, a side with only nine points in 17 matches. Finally, despite three losses in their last five, Chile is talented enough to pull the upset in Brazil. Tite will be thinking more about avoiding unnecessary injury than claiming another scalp.
But we're talking Argentina here. They really shouldn't be relying on any help.

Worst-case



I mean, do the math. You can't move up the table without a result.

What's that? You actually can? Huh.

Apparently, if Argentina lose against Ecuador but Colombia beat Peru by a margin at least one goal greater than Argentina's loss and Venezuela somehow pull off that highly unlikely result, said combination would give Argentina the edge over Peru for fifth place due to goal differential.
I wouldn't want to be Peruvian if that happened.

Do Argentina have a real shot at qualifying?



Can you believe that's a legitimate question when discussing a squad including Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria, Paulo Dybala, and Javier Mascherano?

Argentina is still alive. The Albiceleste's destiny remains in its own hands. Yet, recent results, including two draws at home against beatable opponents, say the team is just not clicking. Sampaoli will have to work his magic in the next few days because Argentina really need a win to avoid further complications.
Juan Pablo Aravena

29-year-old sports analyst and journalist with over three years of experience in the industry. Writes about all kinds of sports from football to golf, but there is no question his biggest passion in life is football. Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Colo Colo fan.


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