Argentina On The Brink Of Missing Russia 2018

Posted October 06, 2017

Three months away from his 34th birthday, this is surely Guerrero's last chance to make the World Cup finals.

Peru held Argentina to a 2-2 draw in Lima just over a year ago, with Christian Cueva providing the equaliser on an 83rd-minute penalty.

Brazil and Bolivia had played to a meaningless 0-0 draw.

That game ended in a 2-2 draw with Argentina qualifying for Mexico 1986, while Peru went to the playoffs, where they lost to Chile.

The coach said in a news conference: "We don't generally man-mark players".

In other South American zone qualifiers on Thursday, Colombia missed a chance to earn an automatic berth in Russian Federation with a 2-1 home defeat to Paraguay, Chile moved back into the qualification places with a 2-1 win at home to Ecuador while Uruguay guaranteed themselves of at least a playoff spot by drawing 0-0 in Venezuela. "The good thing is that we are in control of our own destiny".

Peru also play Colombia, meaning one of those two teams is guaranteed to drop points, something Argentina should be able to take advantage of.

Jorge Sampaoli's side, who hope to snatch a top-four qualifying spot in their last two matches, now lie fifth, behind Peru on the number of games won.

Argentina had chosen to play the match in the red-hot atmosphere of La Bombonera instead of the bigger Estadio Monumental - home to Boca Junior's arch rivals River Plate.

Peru have overcome that disadvantage in the past.

Xavi no longer lines up alongside the Argentina captain, having left Barca for Qatari club Al Sadd in 2015, but says the key to keeping him on song is to give him the ball.

So in place of suspended playmaker Christian Cueva, coach Ricardo Gareca selected Sergio Pena, a cultured midfielder, but one who had been handed defensive instructions.

La Albiceleste have failed to find their groove under the management of Jorge Sampaoli. They remain one place ahead of Argentina.

Argentina, on the other hand, will be without Sergio Kun Aguero after the Manchester City striker was injured in a vehicle crash a week ago. Yet an abundance of attacking talent remains.

Ever since Mario Gotze's injury-time victor in the Maracana in 2014 denied Argentina a World Cup, and the subsequent agonizing Copa América defeats, the question has been asked if Argentina will provide a team capable of helping Messi achieve the one prize that eludes him. "It would really be unfair if a group that put it all out there - like they did - does not advance".