Argentina midfielder Gago ruptures knee ligaments in Peru draw

For now, Argentina still can qualify for the tournament if they finish fifth, but they would have to face New Zealand in a playoff. He said what he felt about playing side by side with the best player in the world.


The result has left Argentina in sixth place in South America’s marathon qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

Argentina visit Ecuador at high altitude in Quito in the final round of matches on Tuesday while Peru, who are hoping to go to the finals for the first time in 36 years, host Colombia in Lima.

“It is true that now they are in a hard situation, which is the qualification in South America”, added Xavi, who currently plays for Al Sadd SC in Qatar.

A lacklustre 1-1 home draw with Venezuela in their last outing on September 5 left Argentina’s hopes of automatic qualification for next year’s finals in Russian Federation hanging by the slenderest of threads.

“I remain confident we’ll be in the World Cup”, he said.

Bolivia has been one of the weakest teams in these CONMEBOL qualifiers in contrast to Brazil, now in ninth place with 13 points.

In other results on Thursday, Paraguay beat Colombia 2-1, Chile beat Ecuador 2-1 and Uruguay played a 0-0 draw with Venezuela.

The four-time world champions also maintained their proud unbeaten away record in World Cup qualifiers – a run spanning an incredible 47 matches dating back to 1934.

While their campaign has been underwhelming, Xavi believes Jorge Sampaoli, who took over as head coach in May, can lead Argentina to FIFA World Cup glory.

Chile’s home in this selection has 16 points (5-1-2) and the goal difference is 15: 9, six games scored three or more goals.

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

This time around, a Panama victory on U.S. soil would guarantee them a place in Russian Federation next year and consign the USMNT to the intercontinental playoff – although they risk missing out altogether should other results go against them.


Oscar Cardozo bundled in the equaliser for Paraguay in the 89th minute and then Tony Sanabria punished poor goalkeeping by David Ospina to poke in a second in injury time to clinch the win. The veteran striker, 33, was born two years after Spain 1982, when an Inca side containing the great Teofilo Cubillas went out in the first round, despite entertaining fans with their flowing, courageous football at the tournament.

Lionel Messi Argentina World Cup qualifier