A World Cup without Argentina and Lionel Messi? It's a possibility


It is insane to think that Argentina will not somehow make it to next year's World Cup.

If Argentina fail to qualify, this will be the first time they will miss out on a World Cup berth since 1970. The odds of La Albiceleste booking their ticket to Russian Federation are a lot lower following their 0-0 draw at La Bombonera in Buenos Aires today.

The 2014 runners-up are doing things the hard way in the South American qualification group, and things got a whole lot more difficult last night, after their 0-0 draw with Peru last night.

Jorge Sampaoli's side have only won six games out of 17 in the group, which means they face the serious possibility of missing out next summer.

The Argentinean football federation has banned under-18 fans from the stadium in order to have the most electric atmosphere ever during the game. Brazil with Neymar has always been qualified. Argentina had last registered a victory in a World Cup Qualifier in Quito in 2001. In addition, Paraguay (24 points) by a 2:1 in Colombia as seventh placed also suddenly has World Cup chances.

Uruguay are now second but they may not finish there. Now they have to win their final qualifier in Ecuador to claim at least fifth spot which sets up a two-leg play-off against New Zealand.

It leaves the Colombians and third-placed Chile, who beat Ecuador 2-1, a point clear of Peru and Argentina.

Sredojević terminated his contract in July over unpaid wages - though the FA insist the $54,000 he is owed will be paid - and local coaches Moses Basena and Fred Kajoba were brought in to lead the team through qualifying. Sampaoli, the former Chile and Sevilla boss, is chasing his first win in his third game in charge. Whether the Selecao play a full-strength squad against Chile is a question that needs to be asked, though.

The visitors appeared to have secured a point in the 84th through Romario Ibarra Mina, but Alexis Sanchez rescued the three points seconds later with a simple finish after Ecuador keeper Maximo Banguera palmed Felipe Gutierrez's shot directly into the Arsenal man's path. It was a welcome result for La Roja who were under severe pressure following losses in the previous two fixtures against Bolivia and Paraguay.

Kachikwu in closed-door meeting with President Buhari
As soon as the minister emerged from the meeting at about 12:45 p.m., he was asked by several journalists what they discussed. The meeting was still in progress at the time of filling this report.

Even a sell-out home crowd in Buenos Aires' La Bombonera was not enough to rally Lionel Messi's side, who slipped further from qualifying places.

Their fate is no longer in their hands.

A downcast Lionel Messi during Argentina's draw with Peru. "But we will go out determined to take a win because that is our mentality".

That is where they might have some luck going in their favour. If they draw, they are out if both Argentina and Paraguay win. "My style is to attack the whole time and play the game in the opponent's half of the field".

It is very tough to call at the moment.

"Because of the players they have and because I think they've got it right with the new manager [Jorge Sampaoli]".

For Argentina to be able to book their flights to Russian Federation, they would need a victory coupled with EITHER a draw between Peru and Colombia OR Chile failing to win in Brazil.

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

While 13 points behind leaders Brazil, the Albiceleste are level on points with Peru in fifth and just one point behind Colombia and Chile in fourth and fifth place respectively...