The Albicelestes haven’t had a worse period than these past three years since time immemorial- after losing a World Cup Final against Germany, losing twice to Chile in the final of Copa America seemed like the nadir of their aches but no! More was still to come. The Argentine national football team are on the verge of missing out on a World Cup place for the first time since 1970.
It must feel really strange that a team brimming with class and quality like Argentina’s couldn’t muster regular consistent performances to scale through a hurdle that’s unarguably difficult but outrightly achievable. They sit sixth in the qualifiers after letting slip their hope of a revival against Peru despite having arguably the greatest footballer that has graced the planet, Lionel Messi on parade.
Argentina must now look on to their star man, fervently with expectations of an uncanny miracle off his pint-sized boots as it appears Argetina’s strikers leave their scoring boots in Europe when CONMEBOL calls. They are by far one of the most star-studded teams in the world at the moment but also by every means, one of the easiest to play at this point owing to their now habitual lack of confidence and loss of composure, that has seen them trail countries with lesser potentials and possibilities.
Argentina have been Messi-ful and if they will be flying on the plane to Russia in 2018 not as spectators, they have to be Messi-less. They have been passengers rather than drivers thus far even with the appointment of one of the fastest growing managers in football, Jorge Sampaoli who twice led Chile to defeat his country in the Copa America. Sampaoli has shown his unreserved love for Messi and that brews a lot of ingeniousness with the understanding of the magic the Barcelona attacker could spring up at any time, but others must also justify their place in the team.
It is hilarious, sadly, and unbelievable that Messi, who’s scored 11 goals for Barcelona in 7 games this season is yet to register a goal for the Albiceleste in 2017 having struggled throughout and even coming out of a forced retirement after the whole nation clamoured for his name.
Sampaoli may just be disappointing his own people if Argentina fails to make the World Cup despite their myriad of stars who churn out excellent performances weekly in Europe’s top leagues.
Presently, Peru and Colombia sit fifth and fourth respectively and face off on the final day, with a draw potentially sending both through – depending on how Argentina get on and Chile’s result in Brazil.
Brazil have already qualified for Russia on 38 points, while Uruguay (28) need just a draw from their final game against Bolivia to advance.
Chile are third with Colombia fourth, both on 26 points. Fifth-placed Peru are on 25 points, with Argentina one place behind on the same tally.
That means a draw will be good enough for Messi’s side if Colombia beat Peru and Paraguay fail to win (at home, against last-placed Venezuela). A single point could also see them move above Chile and Colombia… as long as both those teams lose by a two-goal margin.
There is a way Argentina could even end up in fifth place and a play-off spot with a DEFEAT according to Mirror Sports. If Paraguay fail to win and Colombia beat Peru, a defeat in Quito won’t matter.
Now Argentina are expecting a sort of wild card to earn a place on football’s biggest stage and Messi needs to make his name ricochet in heads if he will be ever called the greatest of all time. His skills and abilities are good enough to give him such huge respect but a lack of relative success at home is not good enough for a player his abilities.
The ball is in Argentina’s court now, they must play it simple and straight, else, they may be watching the World Cup from the gallery which will be a quite painful and regrettable reality.