We did enough to go to Russian Federation, claims Sampaoli

Brazil star Neymar against Croatia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

We did enough to go to Russian Federation, claims Sampaoli

So, with three places for the direct qualification up for grabs fans will be excited to catch the final round of games. Uruguay are all but in Russian Federation 2018 already, thanks to strong goal difference.

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.

However, they did avoid defeat in 10 of their qualification matches and will be no pushover for their illustrious and desperate opponents. Jorge Sampaoli is yet to win an official game with La Albiceleste, and the team is now riding a four-game winless streak with three draws and one defeat. 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.

The visitors will hope the hosts will be disinterested in a tie that means nothing to them in technical terms, but Ecuador will not lie down with the opportunity to embarrass and humble Argentina. Peru also have a chance even if they draw or lose.

ElsewhereAs for the rest, no one has a clearer path to Russian Federation than Uruguay, who lie second on 28 points.

Ecuador will miss football's main event for only the second time since 1998, having won just six of their 17 qualifiers to date in the current CONMEBOL tournament. They need a single point against the ninth-placed team.

URUGUAY were never the flashiest side under Oscar Tabarez, but in recent months they really have set their stall out to qualify in the dullest way possible.

More news: Dannon goes with Dak Prescott after dropping Cam Newton

Brazil have already secured their plane ticket as they lead the way by 10 points.

Argentina's last four games in Ecuador have resulted in two draws and two losses.

It shows how generation-defining Messi has been that this country will never again talk of finding the new Maradona, but the heir to Messi, and coming close to missing out on Russian Federation 2018 has made Argentina realise that not only have they been blessed with one all-time great but two.

Argentina have averaged two points per game with Messi and less than a point per game without him.

For Chile, Colombia, Peru and Argentina, it looks like being a insane evening of highs and lows. In their first-round meeting, Ecuador produced a shock 2-0 win at Buenos Aires with Frickson Erazo and Felipe Caicedo scoring late goals against a Messi-less Argentina some two years ago. La Albirroja will be without the suspended Richard Ortiz. But, Chile are the only side to have beaten the Samba boys in this whole of qualifying campaign. Can he work his magic for his country one more time? Los Cafeteros have since recorded four wins and three draws on Peruvian soil.

However, Sampaoli praised the Barcelona star and said it was up to the 30-year-old's team-mates to reach his level.

Últimas noticias