Lionel Messi's World Cup dreams on a knife edge as Argentina fail to beat Peru

The Barcelona superstar may not even compete in Russia 2018 after another disappointing result for the South American side.

Lionel Messi's World Cup dreams on a knife edge as Argentina fail to beat Peru
Messi looking disappointed (photo: Getty Images / Marcelo Endelli)

Lionel Messi's chances of leading Argentina out at next year's World Cup are hanging by a thread after another disappointing result for the South American side. 

Coming up against Peru on Thursday evening, Messi and friends could only muster a 0-0 draw, leaving them in an even more perilous position when it comes to a qualifying spot.

Argentina down to sixth

With the South American qualifiers being split into one huge league, that Brazil are well top of, the top four qualify automatically and the fifth placed team goes into a play-off, this time against New Zealand.

Argentina were already struggling, sitting fifth just behind Peru going into the game, but have now dropped out of even the play-off position's after failing to win at La Bombonera, seeing Chile leap-frog them thanks to a late Alexis Sanchez winner against Ecuador.

Not over just yet

Thankfully for Argentina, the dream isn't over yet, Paraguay's surprise win away to Colombia meaning that Messi's side could still realistically finish as high as third after the final round of games next week.

Argentina remain behind Peru, fifth, on goal difference whilst they're a point behind both Colombia and Chile, fourth and third respectively.

Jorge Sampaoli's men are only three points behind Uruguay in second, but the Uruguayan's have a far superior goal difference and look set to join the already qualified Brazil in Russia.

Argentina now travel to Ecuador, two places and five points behind them, for a must-win clash on Wednesday.

Chile go away to Brazil, so a win would see Argentina over take Sanchez's side should they fail to beat the table-toppers.

Peru also play Colombia, meaning one of those two teams is guaranteed to drop points, something Argentina should be able to take advantage of.

However, having failed to win any of their last four qualifying games, it's not unrealistic that Argentina may fail to beat Ecuador, who they lost to at home in their opening qualifier.

Should that happen, they'd be lucky to even make the play-off places.