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Brazil qualify for World Cup, Argentina struggle without Messi

Brazil earned a spot in next year’s World Cup in Russia after a 3-0 victory against Paraguay. Elsewhere, Argentina were stunned to a 2-0 defeat against  Bolivia. Argentine star Lionel Messi received a four match ban from FIFA on the day of the game.

The most famous two South American teams enjoyed a different measure of success in the World Cup qualifying round. Brazil are already through, albeit with some luck. However, Argentina is struggling and will also have to make due without Messi’s contribution.

Neymar was in fine form as his team defeated Paraguay 3-0. However, Brazil also needed a favorable result from Peru in their match against Uruguay. Peru’s 2-1 victory ensures the Seleção will finish the group in at least fourth place, granting them access to the World Cup.

Brasil primer clasificado al Mundial de #Rusia2018  pic.twitter.com/Wg4sSkzUal

— CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) March 29, 2017

Argentina are in danger of missing out on the World Cup. They are currently in fifth place, eleven points behind Brazil. At this stage Argetina would still reach the Playoffs for the tournament. However, additional bad news was dealt with Lionel Messi receiving a four match ban for an insulting a football official in a game against Chile.

Argentina are expected to appeal the decision. Messi was set to start in the game against Bolivia, which the team ultimately lost 2-0. Head coach Edgardo Bauza feels the ban is disproportionate to the player’s actions.

“What surprised us was the little time we were given to release a legal response,” Bauza said. “We had half an hour to send the first note. And after that, during the night hours, we stayed until four in the morning for the second note.”

“It’s strange because FIFA gives you the possibility to deliver an opinion to anyone who can be sanctioned. Not only he couldn’t play, but we didn’t have time to work with anyone else.”

Lionel Messi suspended for four matches: https://t.co/jV2OojGQ36

— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) March 28, 2017

With plenty of talent at his disposal, fans feel Argentina is underperforming. Bauza remains confident the team will still be able to earn themselves a place to the World Cup, a trophy Argentina has won twice.

“We tried to get the lead in Bolivia, in the second half the team improved a bit,” Bauza said.  “Bolivia won well. We have to think about what is coming, we are alive and desiring to qualify for the World Cup.”

“We know this is going to be a fight and we will continue fighting. I’m not bothered by anything, nobody, or what they say. The fight will continue.”

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