Argentina slumps to 0-0 draw; verges on missing World Cup

Radamel Falcao Colombia

Radamel Falcao Colombia

Even a sell-out home crowd in Buenos Aires' La Bombonera was not enough to rally a side including Lionel Messi, who slipped further from the qualifying places.

Jorge Sampaoli, though, is not entertaining that thought.

Interestingly, a year ago Messi said he quits the Argentine national team after the defeat to Chile in the Copa America final, however, later he reversed his decision.

Martin Skrtel's own goal, just a minute from the end of normal time in Glasgow, leaves Scotland second in Group F, two points ahead of Slovakia and three in front of Slovenia ahead of Sunday's trip to Ljubljana.

But within the space of five chaotic minutes, Argentina's World Cup fate fell out of their own hands and into those of their South American rivals. They have one final qualifier against Ecuador in Quito on Tuesday, October 10.

Both sides went into the game on 24 points, knowing a win would virtually secure qualification.

Alexis Sanchez was Chile's hero as they left it late against Ecuador. Runners up at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on a late goal in extra time against Germany.

On the face of it, Chile have the most hard task going into the final fixture of CONMEBOL qualifying. If Chile lose, the victor of this game will leapfrog them, leaving the loser relying on results elsewhere to qualify.

Colombia looked to be heading to Russian Federation before they slipped to a late loss against Paraguay.

Speaking after the disappointing result Sampaoli said there remained an "atmosphere of enthusiasm" within the squad that they could still qualify.

Equally, a draw could be enough to finish fourth, or leave them as low as seventh - fans will be tearing their hair out trying to calculate the permutations and combinations.

Here's where it gets confusing.

Uruguay (28) needs just a draw from its final game against Bolivia to advance.

The goalless draw against Peru means Argentina will have to win in Ecuador in their final qualifying match, next Wednesday, to stand any chance of making next year's World Cup. Tite is undefeated in 11 qualifying matches since taking over as Brazil coach, including nine wins.

If they lose, they will only reach the playoffs if Argentina lose and Paraguay fail to beat Venezuela. Their final game is against Ecuador at altitude in Quito.

A boring argument used to go along the lines that Pep Guardiola wasn't so great at Barcelona; that the junior grounds staff could have picked the team and won titles if they had Lionel Messi available.

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