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Sampaoli praises Messi & confident Argentina will qualify for World Cup

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The Barca legend faces a battle to make it to Russia

Brazil Global Tour - Brazil v Argentina Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has praised Lionel Messi for his display in the 0-0 draw with Peru and says he is confident they will qualify for World Cup 2018.

The Albiceleste again failed to find the back of the net, despite a host of chances but Sampaoli did not seem too concerned after the final whistle.

"I am still confident that we will be at the World Cup," he said.

"Today was a very good game. We just missed a goal. I am very hopeful and excited about what is coming.

"The team never gave up, put in a huge effort and deserved another result.

"Messi played a great game, created chances and gave good passes.”

Source | FourFourTwo

The Albiceleste go into the final round of qualifiers outside the play-off spots in sixth, and face a tricky trip to Quito to take on Ecuador next.

Here’s a little look at how the table stands, and the final round of fixtures (the top four qualify automatically, fifth place sets up a play-off with New Zealand).

Depending on results elsewhere, a draw may or may not be enough, so Argentina will really need to beat Ecuador to make sure.

And that is not as easy as it sounds, not least for the high altitude in Quito but for the fact Argentina’s form in front of goal is awful at present, according to Opta.

Can Messi and Argentina do it? Or will they miss the World Cup? Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments below!