Lionel Messi uncertain for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers vs. Paraguay
Lionel Messi uncertain for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers World Cup qualifying match against Paraguay remains uncertain. Despite opening with a 1-0 victory against Ecuador, the Argentina captain had to sit out the 3-0 triumph over Bolivia last month due to persistent muscular discomfort. This ailment has also kept him sidelined from several matches for Inter Miami in the Major League Soccer (MLS).
The World Cup champions are scheduled to host Paraguay in Buenos Aires on Thursday, creating an air of anticipation and concern among football enthusiasts.
Vinicius Jr. Returns for Brazil
On the other side of the spectrum, Brazil is welcoming the return of Vinicius Jr., who had missed their initial two games in the South American qualifying round due to injury. His recovery marks a significant boost for the Selecia, who are set to face Venezuela in Cuiaba.
Fierce Competition in South American Qualifiers
Both Argentina and Brazil currently hold a 2-0 record in the qualification campaign for the 2026 World Cup, following their impressive victories last month. The longstanding rivalry between these two football giants is set to reignite when they clash in November.
As the qualifying campaign unfolds, Colombia holds the third spot in the 10-team standings with four points, closely followed by Uruguay and Venezuela with three points each. Paraguay, Peru, and Chile, with a solitary point apiece, are trailing closely behind.
Ecuador, despite securing a 2-1 win over Uruguay on September 13, has yet to secure any competition points. Their challenging start to the qualifying tournament was compounded by a FIFA decision to deduct points for the falsification of birth information of defender Byron Castillo, who has Colombian origins.
Expanding World Cup Format and Intercontinental Playoff
The upcoming World Cup in the United States, Mexico, and Canada will introduce a 48-team format. This means that the top six teams in South America will earn direct entry, while the seventh-place team will engage in an intercontinental playoff for a coveted berth.
2030 World Cup Celebrations
In addition to the gripping football action, other matches on Thursday will serve as celebrations for Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay. These nations were honored by FIFA’s decision to award them the opening matches of the 2030 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Spain, Portugal, and Morocco.
Lionel Messi uncertain for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers ARGENTINA vs. PARAGUAY
As the 36-year-old Messi grapples with his fitness, he has already missed four MLS matches for Inter Miami, in addition to the U.S. Open Cup. This serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance between club commitments and national duties that football stars like Messi have to navigate.