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Argentina have tough WCQ test after Bauza

Five Aside
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Maradona's 'moral' Hand of God

ESPN FC & Howler
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Chile aims to end Argentina's recovery

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After Edgardo Bauza's sacking, Argentina face tough World Cup test

Shaka Hislop feels Bauza's sacking was a long time coming, but will this turn things around for lacklustre Argentina?

Argentina sacked manager Edgardo Bauza on Monday after just eight games and with the national team outside of CONMEBOL's automatic 2018 World Cup qualification spots.

Currently fifth in the South American table through 14 rounds and with four games remaining, FiveThirtyEight's Soccer Power Index (SPI) still gives Argentina, one point behind both Uruguay and Chile, an 84 percent chance to qualify for the competition.

The team that finishes in fifth place in South America will advance to a two-legged...

 By Tim Vickery

Bauza's successor faces huge task to resurrect an unbalanced Argentina

Shaka Hislop feels Bauza's sacking was a long time coming, but will this turn things around for lacklustre Argentina?

"We've told [Edgardo] Bauza that he is no longer coach of the national team," said new Argentina FA boss Claudio Tapia on Monday evening.

It brings to an end a messy two weeks in Buenos Aires, during which the rumour mill churned out gossip of Bauza's sacking amid official declarations that his job was safe.

Down in fifth place in South America's World Cup qualification table, the Argentina national team have looked shambolic on the field, and off it the country's football administration has been...

Diego Maradona's Hand of God proved that cheating isn't always immoral

Diego Maradona amused his audience by recreating the infamous 'Hand of God' that sent England home in the 1986 World Cup.

Gino, an Italian waiter at a restaurant I frequent in Miami, was a youngster in Napoli when Maradona played for the city's soccer team. He says he attended every match. Last year, on the 30th anniversary of the Hand of God goal, Gino and I were talking about the great player. Nothing Maradona did could be immoral, Gino said. Besides, he continued after a few seconds of silence, being immoral against the English is not like stealing money from a nun.

Gino makes a valid point.

The English...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Trending: Argentina's World Cup place in jeopardy, Brazil through to finals

Bolivia took advantage of Lionel Messi's suspension, claiming a 2-0 victory against Argentina in La Paz.
The FC panel assess the four-match ban handed to Lionel Messi by FIFA and question whether the punishment fits the crime.
Alejandro Moreno discusses the impact of Lionel Messi's 4-match ban on Argentina's World Cup qualifying campaign.

ARGENTINA: Bolivia took advantage of Lionel Messi's absence to claim a comfortable 2-0 victory, harming Argentina's hopes of World Cup qualification in La Paz on Tuesday.

- Head coach Edgardo Bauza criticised FIFA for handing Lionel Messi a four-game suspension hours before the game, while Barcelona have released a statement expressing their "surprise and indignation" at FIFA's decision.

- Tim Vickery explains how Argentina find themselves in this predicament

- It comes after...

 By Tim Vickery

Brazil through to 2018 World Cup while Uruguay and Argentina fret

In stoppage time of the last game of the round, Uruguay captain Diego Godin headed a free kick against the Peruvian bar. It came down, from the Uruguayan point of view, on the wrong side of the line. They lost 2-1, and as a result of that, Brazil became the first team to qualify for Russia 2018.

Earlier in the evening Brazil had beaten Paraguay 3-0. It was their eighth consecutive victory, all of them since coach Tite took command of a struggling side.

Paraguay did not make it easy for them in...

 By Tim Vickery

Argentina's World Cup spot in jeopardy without Messi as Colombia, Chile soar

Shaka Hislop concedes there is a distinct possibility Argentina will fail to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The numbers speak for themselves. Lionel Messi has played six matches in Argentina's World Cup qualification campaign, notching five wins and one defeat. In the eight games he has missed, however, Argentina have accumulated one win, four draws and three defeats. Messi's four-match suspension was handed down Tuesday morning, and he still has three more games to miss; after the 2-0 defeat in Bolivia, his absence casts serious doubt on his country's capacity to qualify.

His ban -- four games for...