Moment of truth as Argentina seek World Cup berth

Moment of truth as Argentina seek World Cup berth

A complex scenario basically boils down to this: if Argentina win in Ecuador this week, they will be through automatically unless Chile win in Brazil, in which case they will probably be in the playoffs; if they draw, they will be relying on favourable results in the other games; and if they lose, they will be out. From that height, it is a long way to fall.

No Lionel Messi at the World Cup? Can they take advantage of it? Antonio Valencia has been suspended, and Jefferson Montero has been ruled out with an injury.

Meanwhile, Argentina boss Sampaoli has called on his players to match the "incredible" displays of Messi when they visit the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa.

"Argentina have lacked a top class centre back, for example, since the retirement of Roberto Ayala a decade ago - and since then they have rarely looked like a fully coherent team". Peru and Colombia sit fifth and fourth 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 has already qualified with 38 points.

Of course, Argentina - who are now 6th and outside the playoff spot - will be praying Brazil can do them a massive favour. The omens are good for Los Cafeteros, who have won their last four qualifying meetings with the Peruvians. The Lionel Messi-led side needs a win and that will guarantee a play-off place.

Argentina have only won once in Quito since 2001, but surely it is a matter of time before their galaxy of stars click. Can they secure the three points when it matters the most? Coach Jorge Sampaoli has excluded team veteran Gonzalo Higuain and has tried all kinds of forward combinations with Messi: Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi, Dario Benedetto, and Alejandro Gomez.

The matter is ensured by Tostao and this World Cup victor striker also claimed that Brazil already drawn consecutive two last matches and they are now desperate to win against Chile. But four qualifiers now with no victories have Argentina on the precipice and defeat is unthinkable.

Both sides have been on negative runs.

Argentina are in a precarious position heading into their final qualifying match against Ecuador in Quito on Tuesday, having drawn their last three games and scored only one goal in the process.

Ecuador have posted a 4W 1D 3L record at home.

Argentina will need to deal with that altitude and that is something that is very problematic. For that to happen, they need their star players to appear when it matters the most. We will build up to the match with latest news throughout the day and provide minute-by-minute coverage from kick off at 01:30 (CEST).

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