What Argentina need to do for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification

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That sad scenario is a distinct possibility as Lionel Messi and Argentina head into this week's final round of qualifying fixtures in sixth place in the South American standings, knowing that anything but victory against Ecuador could see them eliminated. The bad news is that they have not won at the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, which stands 2,782 meters above sea level, since 2001.

However, Messi and Argentina are at the risk of missing out of the showpiece event in Russian Federation, needing a positive result against Ecuador to give the Albiceleste hope of qualifying.

Peru can qualify for its first World Cup since 1982 if it wins at home against Colombia, unless Chile beats Brazil, and Argentina beats Ecuador by a margin greater than Peru's margin over Colombia.

With World Cup qualifying coming to a close, there is still everything to play for in South America with five teams battling over automatic qualification, as well as a play-off spot.

As things stand, those two matches would take place in Wellington on November 8 with the return in Buenos Aires on November 15.

"It depends on us", said Sampaoli. However, they are quite complicated on the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers, and they now sit sixth with 25 points. In the upcoming game, despite the statistics of face-to-face meetings, Argentina is obliged to win, not to enter the world forum with such a selection of players is a disaster. Moreover, their failed qualification would be the first time in our lifetime that we would not be able to watch the "blue and white stripes" gracing a world cup stage.

"The only ones who would be happy if Messi doesn't go to the World Cup would be Maradona fans because, that way, they can keep saying that he's the best", the 63-year-old added.

That's because they host third-place Chile and that result will have huge implications on who qualifies.

But with no wins in their last four qualifiers and no Argentinian having scored from open play for nearly a year, the mood is not optimistic, even against a team that are already out of contention.

Tuesday's matches will all start at the same time: Ecuador-Argentina, Brazil-Chile, Peru-Colombia, Paraguay-Venezuela, and Uruguay-Bolivia.

Ecuador have posted a 4W 1D 3L record at home. For that to happen, they need their star players to appear when it matters the most.

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