March 23, 2018

Watch World Cup 2018 qualifiers live on TV, Online

07 October 2017, 12:51 | Kristopher Drake

Di Maria Ever Banega and Nicolas Otamendi make their way to the training ground

Di Maria Ever Banega and Nicolas Otamendi make their way to the training ground

Indeed, if Argentina wins, any result from Peru and Colombia will be moot.

Jorge Sampaoli's men had the better of the chances throughout the game, with Messi hitting the post from point blank range and curling a shot just wide of the woodwork in the first half.

Former Barcelona maestro Xavi Hernandez has spoken of Lionel Messi's hunger for the ball during his playing days with the little Argentine, and claims the five-time Ballon d'Or victor starts to get frustrated if he's not involved in play.

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

They play 9-place Bolivia at home on the final day, needing only a point to make certain of qualification.

Peru's Argentina-born coach Ricardo Garcea was happier.

But despite Argentina's bad form, Xavi remains optimistic that they will be successful in the World Cup should they qualify - acknowledging the hard nature of reaching the World Cup finals as a South American team.

"I am hopeful and confident that, if we play with the conviction that we showed today, we will be in the World Cup", he told a press conference, even after Argentina's drought of without a competitive goal from open play extended past the 450-minute mark.

In a fair world, Argentina would have won by several goals.

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As things stand, Brazil, Ururguay, Chile and Colombia occupy the automatic qualification positions, while the draw for Peru leaves them on course for a play-off.

A World Cup without Argentina and Lionel Messi?

Uganda face a huge home match against third place Ghana, while leaders Egypt welcome Congo.

Brazil have been on fire and they top the group with 38 points, having secured qualification some six months ago.

17 games are done and dusted - only one more fixture remains. The team around Lionel Messi now relies on power of legendary Stadium of Boca Juniors. "We love you forever and ever".

Alexis Sanchez's late victor for Chile, coupled with Paraguay snatching an injury-time victor in Barranquilla, means the Albiceleste are now sixth in the table, outside the qualification places, and need other results to favor them in the final round of fixtures if they are to qualify automatically.

The draw against Peru marked their fourth consecutive game without scoring a goal of their own (their 1-1 draw against Venezuela was the result of an own goal).

Sitting precariously in second place in Group D, Wales need victories over Georgia and Ireland - who are lurking just a point behind - to ensure the Real Madrid star doesn't miss out on the World Cup.

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