A World Cup would not be the same without Argentina

Argentina were hard at work on the training ground ahead of a crucial weekend of football

Colombia face what is likely a victor takes all clash with Peru in Lima.

They meet already-eliminated Ecuador, on Tuesday night, who now sit two places below in the table.

It is insane to think that Argentina will not somehow make it to next year's World Cup.

Argentina and Lionel Messi are at risk of missing out on next year's World Cup finals as their qualifying struggles continued.

The little magician may not get the chance to win one in Russian Federation either.

Javier Mascherano fired just high from well outside the box on 77 minutes but Argentina would get no closer on the disappointing day.

Ultimately, though, his finishing let him down and without the likes of Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero, was made to pay for his choice misses.

But Oscar Cardozo struck one minute from time, and Antonio Sanabria fired home two minutes later to give the Paraguayans the improbable win.

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The former Spain global, who now plays for Qatari club Al Sadd SC, has warned both his former club and the Argentina team that they must always have Messi involved, otherwise they risk the star getting annoyed.

Argentina, who won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986, and who were beaten finalists in Brazil in 2014, will need victory against Ecuador in their final game on Tuesday to at least ensure a playoff spot. However, at the start of the campaign, most observers would have backed La Albiceleste to qualify easily.

Bolivia keeper Carlos Lampe made 11 saves in the match - the most by any keeper over the past two CONMEBOL qualifying cycles - as the hosts held on for a hard-fought point against the five-time champions. However, he returned to the squad the same year with the aim to get his team a World Cup berth and eventually win the coveted trophy. Los Incas are undefeated in their last four games, most recently coming off a vital 2-1 away win against Ecuador.

It seems a very unreal prospect that perennial contenders Argentina will not be at Russian Federation 2018.

If it wasn't for the erratic goalkeeping of David Ospina, then Messi's absence from football's premier competition and likely his last shot at it, would have been all but over.

It is very tough to call at the moment.

"I never saw such disappointment in a dressing room; several of my team-mates were crying and Adolfo Pedernera [Argentina's coach] was sat silently in a corner smoking", Argentine player Alberto Rendo told FIFA.com. If they fail to qualify though, the highly talented group of players only have themselves to blame.

A victory for Peru would mean automatic qualification, while Argentina need to win and hope other results play in their favour to stand any chance of going to Russian Federation.

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