Argentina face being ruled out of the 2018 World Cup at Russia following a draw against Peru on 5th October 2017. With one qualifiers match left, Argentina don’t stand a chance to make it to the World Cup.
Argentina sat 5th place in the CONMEBOL group, with hopes of a two-legged play-off with New Zealand if they still maintain their standing after their 2 remaining matches, but that’s not an option for them any more.
A draw with Peru moved them further down the group table to 6th below 5th place Peru. A double win over Peru and Ecuador would have taken them to 4th place which will hence give them an automatic qualification to clinch the remaining 3 spots from their group, with Brazil already qualified.
Argentina will play Ecuador on 10th October,2017 and the likelihood of a win is not guaranteed but the coach still has hopes believing that “if we confront it with the same conviction that we had against Peru, we will win at Ecuador”. It will be devastating for Argentina if they fail to qualify since the last time they failed to qualify was in 1970.
Lionel Messi has so far not been able to replicate his La Liga goal scoring form for his country in the World Cup qualifiers campaign and it has become a concern if the national team does not have enough of quality players to help Messi. Argentina showed some bright spots earlier in the game but at the end, it didn’t reflect in the results.
Argentina coach, Jorge Sampoli after the match still had hopes of a come back and was confident of a qualification. “Our group of players compete to the standard required by me and that allows us to be optimistic heading into our next game” he assured. In the changing room there was a feeling of enthusiasm when we found out that if we win in the Quito we will qualify. I’m going to take advantage of that chance and so are my players” he said.
On Lionel Messi, Sampoli didn’t hand him any blame but insisted he was in his shining elements. ” You can’t ask anything from him. Leo played the game with a lot of intensity, he applied pressure, had chances, he never stopped for a second to find the ball. He created goal-scoring opportunities in impossible angles and we saw a very intense Messi, which is what we need”.
Lionel Messi announced his early retirement from the national team after he had reportedly received death-threats from Argentina football fans for missing a penalty in the 2016 Copa America . The 2018 World Cup would be the his last tournament for his country but he won’t have peace even after retiring since he has not won any major trophy for Argentina and that could cause further rejection and death threats.