[UPDATE]: Argentina has since qualified for the 2018 World Cup by way of a 3-1 victory over Ecuador. Lionel Messi recorded a hat trick while leading his country back to the largest international stage.
— #WCQ ⚽️🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) October 11, 2017
Although typically considered to be one of the top teams in the world, Argentina is now in real danger of missing out on the 2018 World Cup altogether. Thanks to a 0-0 draw against Peru on Thursday evening, the heralded South American squad currently sits in sixth place in the CONMEBOL region.
“Our situation is not very comfortable,” manager Jorge Sampaoli said, via ESPN. “But it depends on us.”
Argentina has now netted just one goal across the team’s last three qualifying matches under the direction of Sampaoli, who originally took over the South American powerhouse before the summer.
“I remain confident we’ll be in the World Cup,” Sampaoli added. “It would really be unfair if a group that put it all out there — like they did — does not advance. Throughout the game we had a marked advantage against them, but we could not break through.”
With the club currently in serious trouble, Argentina sits two places and a total of two points behind Colombia, who hold the fourth and final qualifying spot in the CONMEBOL region.
“We are in this situation,” Sampaoli continued. “If we confront it with the conviction that we had against Peru, we will win at Ecuador. In the changing room, there was a feeling of enthusiasm when we found out that if we win in Quito, we will qualify. “I’m going to take advantage of that chance and so are the players. Our group of players competed to the standard required by me and that allows us to be optimistic heading into our next game.”