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Lionel Messi's World Cup hopes hanging by a thread after Argentina draw

06 October 2017

That victor will also advance.

However, it has been a story of heartbreak for Messi with Argentina, losing three Copa America finals and missing out on 2014 World Cup glory to Germany.

Argentina's Lionel Messi gestures at the end of the goalless 2018 World Cup qualifier football match against Peru in Buenos Aires on October 5, 2017.

That means Argentina goes into Tuesday's match needing a victory to guarantee advancement.

The blockbuster fixture against fourth-placed Peru at the iconic La Bombonera - home of Boca Juniors - could not inspire Argentina, who controlled proceedings but were unable to find a way past Pedro Gallese in the Argentine capital. It's the first World Cup qualifier there in 20 years. This should be one of the best matchups in this matchday of the CONMEBOL qualifiers as both teams are heavily motivated to get the three points from the game.

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I know of the possibility of a small weakness they have but always they are stronger. The 21-member USA team came from Dubai where they had a seven-day preparatory camp.

Peru, coached by Argentine Ricardo Gareca, is at home to Colombia in its final game.

Argentina, on the other hand, will be without Sergio Kun Aguero after the Manchester City striker was injured in a auto crash a week ago.

"Throughout the match the difference between the two teams was clear", said Sampaoli, who saw his side claim 66 per cent of the possession and have 22 shots on goal at La Bombonera on Thursday.

Uruguay is in great shape.

Anything besides 3 points on Thursday as well as the hosts will, at best, be condemned to a play-off place.

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The margin for error for Argentina however has narrowed dramatically after their latest stalemate, their third consecutive draw of a faltering qualification campaign. Uruguay-Venezuela had also ended in stalemate, a result that, combined with others, essentially secures qualification for the Uruguayans.

Argentina's fortunes largely rest on how other teams perform next week, when they will meet already-eliminated Ecuador who now sit two places below in the table.

After this draw, remaining 25 points in 17 weeks are same points as six in back of Peru. This is a game that Argentina must win, especially since it is at home.

Now sitting top of Group B, a home victory against nearest rivals Zambia - who sit just three points behind - would guarantee qualification to Russian Federation 2018. "We've got this far with our determination". Look for the regulars to face Chile next week in Sao Paulo.

In comparison, Brazil have won 11 of their games, racking up a whopping 38 goals in the process.

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Lionel Messi's World Cup hopes hanging by a thread after Argentina draw