Argentina’s draw against Unofficial Football World Champions Peru on the last UFWC title match had everybody in Argentina crunching numbers trying to find a way out of this pickle. That’s because, with the point the “Selección” got in this decisive match, Argentina are not only obligated to win their final qualification match against Ecuador, but if Paraguay or Chile wins the fate of the two times World Champion is elimination.
It’s not the first time that Argentina have been on the verge of missing a World Cup, and if they do fail to qualify it won’t be the first time they’ve missed the greatest event in sport. It happened before in 1969 and the facts are quite revealing. The decisive match was also at the “Bombonera”, the Boca team’s stadium, where Argentina needed to win, but drew 2-2 against Peru. Some journalists mentioned it before last Thursday, just before the white and light blue faced the white and red stripe. That result in 1969 eliminated Argentina from the Mexico 1970 World Cup.
Now, Argentina’s fate in Russia 2018 depends on winning in Quito, Ecuador, against a team that didn’t win a lot in the qualifiers. But they have something in their favor, Argentina hasn’t won in that country since 1998. To add a bit of difficulty, the national stadium in Quito is at 2,850 meters above sea level, that means that players that aren’t used to it feel the “apunamiento”, the famous altitude sickness.
Moreover, the Selección hasn’t been showing any sparks lately, despite the hard efforts of Messi, Acuña and Benedetto in the last match. As if it wasn’t enough, Gago got injured in the last match, Di Maria is also fatigued and the feisty match against Peru got some key players a few yellow cards, meaning they will miss the match against Ecuador. Also, the Manchester City’s star Kun Agüero was in a car crash and will miss this match as well.
Perhaps it’s time for Argentinians to start looking for another way to entertain themselves, since the Russian World Cup of 2018 might not have their team in the roster. Perhaps they could play and check EuroMillions results, in search of a way to soothe the stunning blow. Let’s see what happens in a few days, when this story comes to an end at Quito, Ecuador.
For UFWC champions Peru, the situation is clearer. Win against Colombia and they will be guaranteed at least progress to the play-offs. Win against Colombia and better Argentina’s result in Ecuador and Peru will automatically qualify for Russia 2018.