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The unthinkable - no Lionel Messi or Argentina at the World Cup - is seriously close to become a reality.

Argentina encounter a must-win clash against Peru on Thursday in their CONMEBOL qualifying suit for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

The result leaves Argentina in sixth-place, outside of the automatic top-four spots and behind fifth-place which would see them face New Zealand in a playoff.

Chile and Colombia (26 points) sit ahead of Peru, Argentina (25 each) and Paraguay (24) heading into the final set of matches.

Only the top four teams in the South America group are guaranteed to be on their way to Russian Federation next year.

While Peru host Colombia on the final matchday, Paraguay welcome lowly Venezuela to Asuncion and Argentina visit Ecuador.

But with only two points separating third-placed Chile and seventh-placed Paraguay, the final standings could change dramatically depending on results on Tuesday.

In a statement he said, "I remain confident we'll be in the World Cup".

For Argentina, not going to the World Cup would be the biggest catastrophe in the country's history and an impossible happening to one of the greatest players ever, Lionel Messi missing out on the biggest football tournament. They will be looking to team up with Messi and create a formidable side capable of winning the World Cup, that's if they qualify. "Today was a very good match, we just missed the goal".

Chile are in this position thanks to losing their last two qualifying matches and three of their last four, their second such run in this qualifying cycle.

It's a tough task, but Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli told reporters that he believes his side will qualify.

Thanks to a 0-0 draw against Peru on Thursday evening, the heralded South American squad now sits in sixth place in the CONMEBOL region.

The fact that Colombia and Peru clash in the last game of the group could also help Sampaoli's side.

The Argentines moved the game from their usual home at the Monumental stadium to the tightly-packed Bombonera ground to get their passionate crowd behind them.

"We are fully prepared for this, we are a team that is capable of beating anyone", said their Argentinian coach Ricardo Gareca.


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