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Duarte: Reasons to cheer, jeer Brazil

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Lionel Messi eyes Argentina dates

Lionel Messi, who scored two penalties to help Argentina beat Paraguay and become the first team from the CONMEBOL qualifying zone to secure a 2014 World Cup spot, said he wasn’t aware that Barcelona had any plans to ask him to skip the rest of Argentina’s qualifying matches.

Vickery: Five lessons from CONMEBOL qualifiers
Johnson: The race to Brazil

“I know nothing about it. I read about it in the media but as always I want to be with my club and with my national team and I am sure I will be,” said Messi of the two remaining matches.

Argentina faces Peru on October 11 and Uruguay on October 15.

“This is what we have been looking for all this time,” Messi told ESPN Deportes of the 5-2 victory over Paraguay, which had already been eliminated from qualifying. “We knew how tough it was going to be. It’s a very important merit. We got what we wanted and in a great way, beating high level national teams. We are on our way, but to win the World Cup we still have to improve.”

Messi cautioned that Argentina still has a long way to go. “At the World Cup they are seven matches where you have to play 100 percent at all times.”

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