Moment of truth as Argentina seek World Cup berth

The South America World Cup qualifying table with 1 game to

A World Cup without Lionel Messi has become a distinct possibility with Argentina facing elimination in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers when they face Ecuador early Wednesday morning.

A draw might be enough for Sampaoli's side to finish fifth and enter a play-off against New Zealand, providing Peru lose at home to fourth-placed Colombia. In a worst-case scenario, Uruguay could lose to Bolivia and have Chile beat Brazil, Argentina beat Ecuador and have a victor in the Colombia-Peru matchup.

They are now sixth in the South American qualifying group - not enough to make it through - ahead of their final match away to Ecuador on Tuesday night.

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

The show's producer Daniel Grinban told Argentinean newspaper La Nacion: "I proposed that after Noel Gallagher, who leaves at 7pm, we will televise the game of Argentina and then play U2". He also put forward the notion that coach Jorge Sampaoli now has to do his part and take responsibility. There is the chance that both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could miss out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup although both scenarios seem nearly impossible to imagine they are a possibility. For that to happen, Paraguay must fail to beat Venezuela, and Peru must lose to Colombia by a larger margin than the margin of Argentina's loss. Even in defeat, they are sure to make the cut thanks to their superior goal difference.

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Argentina faces Ecuador in the thin air of Quito, located at 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) in the Andes — always a trial for visiting teams.

"Qualification for the World Cup is not about one game, it is about a full campaign", added Tite, who is open to continuing in his role beyond the World Cup.

The qualifying process for the 2018 World Cup that began on March 12, 2015, is reaching its climax with several of the biggest names in world football, are far from certain of their seat on the plane to Russian Federation.

Brazil has already qualified with 38 points. A draw could also yield a playoff for Argentina. That being said, it is hard to see Argentina not stepping up to the challenge again and as a result I see them getting three points here.

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