Argentina face another blow to qualification hopes
Chileans can frustrate Messi's men
World Cup qualifier
The race for the top four in South American World Cup qualifying is perhaps more cut-throat than ever, meaning that Thursday's clash between Argentina and Chile is of epic importance.
Chile are fourth in the standings, with Argentina fifth. Only the top four go through by right and the Albiceleste can ill afford to lose more ground. A World Cup minus Lionel Messi? It’s a real possibility so the stakes at El Monumental in Buenos Aires are truly colossal.
All the money going into the game has been for Argentina, largely because Chile are minus the suspended Arturo Vidal and the injured Marcelo Diaz while Arsenal hitman Alexis Sanchez is nursing an ankle injury.
Without that trio Chile are substantially weaker and they are also in a slightly false position having had a 0-0 draw against Bolivia upgraded to a 3-0 win by Fifa because the Bolivians fielded an ineligible player. Had the 0-0 draw stood, it would be Argentina in fourth and Chile in fifth.
Having said that, Argentina still look too short. They aren’t impressing under coach Edgardo Bauza and have already failed to win home qualifiers against Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay. And Chile, who beat Argentina in the Copa America final last summer, are as tough as they come.
Messi only joined up with his teammates yesterday after playing a full 90 minutes for Barcelona on Sunday evening.
Chile are unbeaten in five and have the defensive tools to be able to make it a frustrating evening for the hosts.
Chile or draw double chance
1pt 9-5 bet365