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30 stats for Messi's 30th birthday

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Argentina have tough WCQ test after Bauza

Five Aside
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

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

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 FIFA banned Lionel Messi for four matches after ruling that the Argentina forward verbally abused a match official in a World Cup qualifying game against Chile.

BRAZIL: Brazil became the first nation to qualify for next year's World Cup, joining hosts Russia, with a dominant 3-0 win over Paraguay.

MAN UNITEDZlatan Ibrahimovic has hinted he will remain at Old Trafford by saying he will "never leave a job unfinished."

Bastian Schweinsteiger has told the New York Times he viewed his struggles at Manchester United as a test of character and that he achieved his "dream" when he forced his way back into the team.

REAL MADRID:  Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe says players join Real Madrid "at the peak of their careers" and that he is focusing on developing "step by step" at Monaco.

BARCELONA: Barcelona's Gerard Pique says he would "never" work for Real Madrid, speaking out against the values of people in charge of his club's chief rivals.

- Neymar has reaffirmed his commitment to Barcelona amid speculation in Spain that Manchester United are keen to acquire his services.

SPAIN: Spain beat France 2-0 in a friendly at the Stade de France, where video replays played a significant role.

- France's Hugo Lloris and forward Antoine Griezmann bemoaned the delay in video assistant referee (VAR) decisions during the game.

ITALY: Italy beat Netherlands 2-1 at the Amsterdam ArenA in the first match since the sacking of Oranje head coach Danny Blind.

PORTUGAL: Cristiano Ronaldo scored on his emotional return home to Madeira, but Portugal squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Sweden.

BELGIUM: Alexander Bukharov salvaged a 3-3 draw for Russia against Belgium in stoppage time to cap a late comeback in a friendly in Sochi on Tuesday.

GERMANY: Joachim Low has backed an idea to introduce sin-bins for tactical fouls, but said plans to scrap the offside rule "wouldn't make any sense."

LIVERPOOL: Adam Lallana is a doubt for the Merseyside derby at home to Everton after suffering a thigh injury on England duty, a source has told ESPN FC. Some reports suggested the midfielder could face a month on the sidelines.

ENGLAND: Wilfried Zaha's representative has dismissed England boss Gareth Southgate's claim there was "a disappearing egg timer on him going to the Ivory Coast."

CHELSEA: N'Golo Kante believes three of his Chelsea teammates deserve to win the PFA Player of the Year award just as much as him.

UNITED STATES: The USA hung on for an important 1-1 draw against Panama on Tuesday night in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

- Bruce Arena credited his side with earning "a good point on the road."

MEXICO: Mexico survived some nervy moments to take all three points in a 1-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago.

- Coach Juan Carlos Osorio was delighted, although he didn't let on that he'd just lost a bet.

MLS: Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez, who leads the MLS with five goals, will miss four to six weeks with a left quad injury.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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