Now after racking up more than 450 minutes without a competitive goal from open play and only a point from Thursday’s visit of Peru, belief has made way for hope and mathematics.With just one game remaining, Argentina sit outside even the fifth-placed playoff spot, grateful only for Paraguay’s dramatic late comeback against Colombia, that fate is still in their own hands.Please don’t comment that I’m stereotyping and stereotyping sucks, wah wah wah. Perhaps why Swedish women have a reputation of being blond/beautiful or why the negative reputation of being “sluts.” Or your experience dating a Swedish girl or being a Swedish girl and dating.“Not going to the World Cup would be the biggest catastrophe in Argentina's history,” an irate voice on Argentinian television barked in the aftermath of yet another evening of frustration and disappointment for La Albiceleste.Sampaoli may remain confident of a result in Quito and lament his side’s bad fortune but it was all painfully familiar.
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48 years later, history hasn’t quite repeated itself but Argentina suffered the same old problems that have plagued them in this campaign.
Against Venezuela one month ago, only a Rolf Feltscher own-goal salvaged a point for Argentina after another tepid performance.
Whether it be Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero, Lucas Pratto or Darío Benedetto as the side’s number nine, Argentina have struggled for goals. The same could be said of Venezuela last month but through three managerial changes, results have barely changed.
Averaging less than a goal a game, Lionel Messi is the side’s leading scorer despite missing half the matches and defender Gabriel Mercado is second. Ever since Mario Gotze’s injury time winner in the Maracana in 2014 denied Argentina a World Cup, and the subsequent agonising 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.
His favoured back three was scrapped for a 4-2-3-1, albeit with midfielder Marcos Acuña as a make-shift left back, the inform Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gómez came into the side and local hero Darío Benedetto was preferred in the number nine role over the continued experimentation with a Messi-Icardi-Dybala trident.