Mondial-2018: last appointments, anguish in Argentina

Ⓒ AFP – ALEJANDRO PAGNI – | Argentina’s star striker Lionel Messi (c) during a training session on 7 October 2017 in Ezeiza, Argentina

It’s time for the last qualification matches at the 2018 World Cup and excitement rises: Argentina’s Lionel Messi is on the verge of emptiness, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo will be entitled to his “final”, and the surprising Syria will play his luck in catching up.

Round the globe, while only 13 out of 32 countries are already qualified.

. AM. SOUTH: fear of Argentina

Trap in altitude: in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday on the heights of Quito (2,800 m), Argentina will play its survival in the qualifying for the World against Ecuador, already eliminated. L’Albiceleste is currently 6th in the zone Amsud, and is not even a barrage!

In the country of Maradona, we cling to the calculators: there are still opportunities to qualify directly, depending on the other results, or even to cross intercontinental against the very weak New Zealand.

A World without Argentina? But if – Messi – is possible … Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli refuses to put pressure on his five-time Golden Ball: “We can not ask more to + Leo + Messi. a very intense Messi, the one that Argentina needs “.

An opinion that does not share the newspaper La Nacion for which the national team “continues to struggle like someone drowning”.

In the Amsud zone, only Brazil is already qualified. He is still leading in front of Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Argentina.

. EUROPE: Ronaldo has his final

Ⓒ AFP – PASCAL PAVANI – | The star striker of Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo (c) striker against Andorra in qualifying for the 2016 World Cup, 7 October 2017 in Andorra la Vella

A whole people will have eyes only for him in Lisbon Tuesday night: Cristiano Ronaldo must win against Switzerland so that his Portugal goes directly to the World Cup. Any other result would be synonymous barrage for the reigning European champion.

The barriers, CR7 knows: Sa Seleçao has overcome this obstacle in the past, eliminating Bosnia on the road to the 2010 World Cup and the Euro 2012, and then dismissing Sweden from the 2014 World Cup. But this little game is always perilous.

The defending European vice-champion, France, has more guarantees: the Blues are leaders of their group with a small point in front of Sweden. The Blues will qualify if they do better against Belarus Tuesday than the Swedes who move to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands.

The “Oranje” are badly embarked. It will take them a miracle to snatch a barricade: beating Sweden and filling a difference of abyssal goals (+19 against +7 only for the Batavians). That is to say with a score of 7-0 for example …

The Netherlands, finalists of the 2010 World Cup, semi-finalists of the 2014 World Cup, had already missed the qualification for Euro-2016. Still a fiasco?

In Europe, Russia (host country), Belgium, Germany, Spain and England have their ticket. And refreshing Iceland is not far away.

. ASIA: Syria on a wire

This is the beautiful story of these qualifications. Syria, a country at war, still has the right to dream. She still has a pre-barrage to hope to challenge the 4th in the North America, Central and Caribbean (Concacaf) zone to try to go to Russia.

Size problem: the Syrians were able to do better than a draw (1-1) in the first leg against Australia, played on neutral ground in Malacca (Malaysia). The return match takes place on Tuesday in Sydney and the Socceroos are superior on paper.

In Asia, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia are already qualified.

. AFRICA: intense November

Ⓒ AFP – PIUS UTOMI EKPEI – | Coach Gernot Rohr raised after Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against the Gambia on 7 October 2017 in Uyo, Nigeria,

Nigeria’s Gernot Rohr is for the moment the only qualified of the Africa zone. The last qualifying group matches will be played in November, when the other zones have their dams.

Tunisia, Morocco’s Hervé Renard, and Senegal (which still has a game late to play against South Africa), are well gone.

Algeria, Cameroon and Gabon of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will not see the Russian World Cup.


Mexico and Costa Rica have already packed their suitcases for Russia. It will be enough of a success in the United States against Trinidad and Tobago, already out of race, to join them, whatever happens in the other matches.

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