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What Lionel Messi and Argentina need to do to qualify for the FIFA 2018 World Cup

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They are cutting it awfully close

Brasil Global Tour - Brazil v Argentina Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images for ICC

The 2018 FIFA World Cup would feel awfully odd without Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi in the mix. But that scary reality is closer than ever to happening unless Argentina and Messi pull themselves together.

There are a plethora of scenarios for Argentina and Messi to get into the World Cup. Here’s a brief summation of the different possibilities for Barcelona’s beloved star and his country.

Lose to Ecuador: Venezuela would have to lose, and Colombia would have to beat Peru by at least two goals. Then a play-off spot is guaranteed.

Draw with Ecuador: This is the most complicated scenario, and has a plethora of possibilities attached with it.

Argentina get in automatically if either of the following happen:

  • Peru beat Columbia by at least two goals, Paraguay don’t beat Venezuela, and Brazil beat Chile by at least two goals.
  • Colombia beat Peru, Paraguay don’t beat Venezuela, and Brazil beat Chile by at least two goals.

They’ll get into the play-off if any of the following happens:

  • Peru need to lose to Colombia by at least two goals and Brazil need to beat Colombia by the same difference.
  • Chile lose by at least two goals to Brazil and Peru lose to Colombia
  • Peru and Colombia draw, Brazil beats Chile by at least two goals, and Venezuela don’t win.
  • Colombia lose to Peru, Brazil beats Chile by at least two goals, and Paraguay don’t beat Venezuela.

Win against Ecuador: Things are pretty simple if Argentina pull this off. They’ll automatically qualify for a play-off spot. There is also a chance that they’ll get in directly, but Chile would have to lose to Brazil and Colombia would have to draw with Peru.

It gets complicated if Argentina don’t pull off a win. Everything is quite simple should Argentina take care of business and win.

However, should they draw or lose, they’re looking at the very real possibility of not making it to next year’s World Cup. Argentina not qualifying would be one of the more shocking football events in recent history.