Argentina have a mountain to climb in Ecuador to secure World Cup place

Lionel Messi and co are on their third manager in this qualifying campaign and head to Quito needing a win to have a hope of playing in Russia next summer

The equation is simple even if the task is not: win in Ecuador and Argentina will, at worst, face a play-off against New Zealand to qualify for the World Cup. Given Chile have to play in Brazil, victory in Quito would probably mean an automatic passage to Russia. But Argentina have only ever won once at altitude in Ecuador and, more significantly, they are playing almost entirely without belief, as though failure had been preordained for them.

As the columnist Pablo Vignone noted in La Nación, “everything that could have gone wrong has gone worse; everything that could have been done badly has been done lousily”. It is not unreasonable to think Argentina’s position is in part the result of misfortune – posts seem to have got bigger and goalkeepers better against them; they would currently be in the playoff spot had Bolivia not fielded an ineligible player against Chile, and while Lionel Messi is not the only recipient of a baffling suspension from Conmebol, he is the only one so important to his team. But none of that should disguise the fact that this is principally the result of massive institutional failure.

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Lionel Messi and co are on their third manager in this qualifying campaign and head to Quito needing a win to have a hope of playing in Russia next summerThe equation is simple even if the task is not: win in Ecuador and Argentina will, at worst, face a play-off against New Zealand to qualify for the World Cup. Given Chile have to play in Brazil, victory in Quito would probably mean an automatic passage to Russia. But Argentina have only ever won once at altitude in Ecuador and, more significantly, they are playing almost entirely without belief, as though failure had been preordained for them.As the columnist Pablo Vignone noted in La Nación, “everything that could have gone wrong has gone worse; everything that could have been done badly has been done lousily”. It is not unreasonable to think Argentina’s position is in part the result of misfortune – posts seem to have got bigger and goalkeepers better against them; they would currently be in the playoff spot had Bolivia not fielded an ineligible player against Chile, and while Lionel Messi is not the only recipient of a baffling suspension from Conmebol, he is the only one so important to his team. But none of that should disguise the fact that this is principally the result of massive institutional failure. Continue reading…

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/10/argentina-ecuador-world-cup-qualifier-lionel-messi-quito

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