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Chile aims to end Argentina's recovery

ESPN Stats & Info
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 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...

Brazil and U.S. resurgent while Alexis Sanchez lashes out: Heroes & Villains

Shaka Hislop talks which of England's strikers will most likely feature in the 2018 World Cup next summer.

It may be another international break, but with World Cup qualifiers raging all over the globe, there's still plenty at stake. Iain Macintosh runs through the good and the bad of the action as teams jostle for position on the road to Russia 2018.

HEROES

Brazil haven't quite qualified for the 2018 World Cup yet, but if they were to place a bulk order of "Teach Yourself Russian" books this week, they wouldn't have to worry too much about keeping the receipt safe. Their away trip to second place...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Odd statue of Arsenal and Chile star Alexis Sanchez is unveiled

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez's statue display is repainted after the Colo Colo badge was vandalised.

Alexis Sanchez had a disappointing evening on Thursday as Chile lost to Argentina in a World Cup qualifier, but he had far more to cheer about on Saturday.

The Arsenal forward visited his home city of Tocopilla to unveil a statue, created by Marco Vergara, that has been erected in his honour.

It's not your usual statue, however, with Sanchez in full Chile kit and looking more like a life-sized cartoon -- complete with Hollywood Walk of Fame-esque handprints and footprints.

Alexis Sanchez's temper tantrum fuels Chile transfer jokes

 Arsenal fans have poked fun at Alexis Sanchez's latest temper tantrum by saying he could be ready to switch national teams.

Sanchez's angry outbursts after Arsenal losses this season have fuelled speculation he wants to leave the club this summer after getting fed up with their struggles. So after seeing a similar tantrum when his beloved Chile lost 1-0 to Argentina in a World Cup qualifier, social media analysts were quick to point out what it all means.

 By Sam Kelly

Argentina beat Chile but have plenty to improve after poor performance

Messi celeb vs Chile 170323
Lionel Messi was about the only Argentina player to threaten.

BUENOS AIRES -- The most important thing, as Edgardo Bauza said in the days before the game, was for Argentina to get the win. And get the win they did. In an incredibly tight World Cup qualifying group, a 1-0 victory over Chile on Thursday night means Argentina move a little closer to Russia regardless of how they did it.

Beyond the result, it was also a chance for the country's fans to see whether this team are coming together, and whether Bauza is stamping his mark on them. However, the answers...

 By Sam Kelly

Can Argentina overcome their distractions to get vital win vs. Chile?

Alejandro Moreno calls on Argentina's star players to deliver strong performances to overcome Chile in World Cup Qualifying.
ESPN Deportes' Ricardo Ortiz and ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno dissect Argentina's struggles in World Cup Qualifying.

Another international date means another chance for Argentina to confront familiar obstacles. Thursday's opponents in Buenos Aires are Chile, who have done much to become the Albiceleste's bogey team in recent years but are not the only thing standing in their way; Argentina must also face pressure from public expectation, increased media attention due to the players' boycott, and the mental block that affected the side at times during the second half of 2016.

Argentina's start to life under Edgardo...