Argentina focused on attack against Peru


Manager Jorge Sampaoli granted Boca Juniors striker Dario Benedetto his full debut against Peru alongside Papu Gomez up front - although still it was not enough to invigorate the struggling team.

The result left Argentina in sixth place in South America's marathon qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

Thanks to a 0-0 draw against Peru on Thursday evening, the heralded South American squad now sits in sixth place in the CONMEBOL region.

Who's already qualified for the 2018 World Cup? That was followed by a less impressive yet still surprising performance at the Copa America Centenario in the United States the following year, where they topped a group featuring Ecuador and Brazil; they would go on to lose in penalties to Colombia in the quartefinals.

The Peruvian paper also reports that their national team will bring their own bottles of water to drink during the game.

The Uruguayans are all but assured of qualification however, needing only a draw or a win against lowly Bolivia in Montevideo next week to book their place.

One shared numerous flags of Argentina's rivals Brazil - who have already qualified for Russian Federation.

Alexis Sanchez was Chile's hero as they left it late against Ecuador.

Ahead of two crucial World Cup qualifiers, Alejandro Moreno reveals his best attacking option to partner Lionel Messi. But it's still going to be hard.

But Pizzi still believes in his team, who inflicted Brazil's only defeat this campaign by claiming a 2-0 win when they met in October 2015. A draw wouldn't be ideal, but scenarios exist in which Argentina still gets through.

Messi was held in check in a Barcelona win last week as Girona chose to man-mark him, but Peru's Gareca said he will not be giving special treatment to Argentina's captain. Russian Federation might be the last chance - if he can get there.

Can Argentina make it through to the World Cup?

Here's where it gets confusing.

Argentina will reach at least a playoff if it wins its last qualifier on Tuesday in Quito, Ecuador, where all visiting teams gasp for air at 2,850 metres (9,350 feet).

Argentina remain behind Peru, fifth, on goal difference whilst they're a point behind both Colombia and Chile, fourth and third respectively. They went five home games without a win in the two previous qualifying cycles combined and, in that span, lost just once at home, falling 3-1 to Brazil on September 5, 2009.

That will leave two teams trying to reach the playoff, which looks like Argentina's only route.

When is Ecuador vs Argentina? Chile have failed to sparkle this year, losing three of their last four qualifiers before Thursday.