'Messi Must Win World Cup To Be Special'

USA with Stoke¿s Geoff Cameron will qualify if they beat Trinidad and Tobago

USA with Stoke¿s Geoff Cameron will qualify if they beat Trinidad and Tobago

Jokela continued: "If Argentina didn't make it to the tournament- there would be an impact on outright odds as Argentina are now #5 favourite to win World Cup 2018 - other favourites' odds like Germany's, France's, Brazil's, Spain's, Belgium's and England's would naturally drop a bit".

However, such is the compact nature of the standings that six nations go into the final round of fixtures still boasting a chance of joining already-qualified Brazil in securing a top-four berth.

The eyes of the football world will turn to Quito's Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa to see if the once unthinkable prospect of a World Cup without Messi is to become a stunning reality.

"I would like to ask a final heartfelt question, a question all of us have to ask if we want Argentine soccer to get better, if we want another world championship, if we don't want to let another 30 years ago by before bringing the World Cup home again; what comes after Messi?"

"I proposed that after Noel Gallagher, who leaves at seven, we will televise the game of Argentina and then play U2", Daniel Grinbank, the organiser of the event, told La Nacion.

It's all looking pretty ugly for Argentina, but they can at least take comfort from the knowledge that Ecuador have nothing to play for, already suffering elimination after a wretched run of five consecutive losses.

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

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Two years after Argentina kicked off their troubled campaign with a 2-0 defeat at home to Ecuador, Jorge Sampaoli's side travel to Quito to face La Tri once more with their hopes hanging precariously. Even an Argentina tie would pull them ahead of Chile if Chile loses to Brazil by more than one goal. Through 17 games only one team out of 10 - Brazil - has clinched its spot in the 2018 World Cup. The worst-case scenario with a win would be a fifth-place finish and as bad as Argentina has been in qualifying, no one would expect them to lose to New Zealand.

In case of a draw, Argentina will need other results to go in their favour as well.

Argentina are in sixth place in the 10-team South American group.

Argentina made life even more hard for themselves after they were held to a goalless draw by Peru in their last home match.

The Argentinians now lie in sixth, outside of the automatic qualification positions and the fifth-placed play-off berth.

Paraguay need to win to keep their chances alive.

The FC crew debate what kind of impact Argentina missing the World Cup would have on Lionel Messi's legacy.

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