It’s become a very realistic possibility that Argentina are not going to qualify for the World Cup.
Last night, the losing finalists from three years ago, drew 0-0 at home to Peru, failing to convert any of their 22 shots on goal.
Jorge Sampaoli ridiculously chose Serie A journeyman Alejandro Gomez and Boca Juniors forward Dario Benedetto to play alongside Lionel Messi, meaning Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala remained on the bench…
As a result, Argentina are currently outside of the qualifying spots – but will secure fifth and a Play-Off against New Zealand if they beat Ecuador in their final qualification match.
However, that’s no mean feat away from home, especially considering their current form.
If Argentina fail to win, they’ll need arch-enemies Brazil to do them a favour… Coutinho and Roberto Firmino could both start against Chile in Brazil’s dead-rubber next week, in the strange position where a defeat may go down better with fans who’ll desperately want Argentina humiliated by failing to qualify.
We’re not suggesting Coutinho, Firmino or any of the Brazil team will play to lose (they’re way too good and way too professional for that), but it’s a massive story and one that means the world’s eyes will be glued on both games next week.
A World Cup without Messi will seem a very, very strange place.