Lionel Messi's Participation in Argentina's World Cup Qualifier Against Paraguay in Doubt


Lionel Messi’s Participation in Argentina’s World Cup Qualifier Against Paraguay in Doubt

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Lionel Messi Uncertain for Argentina’s World Cup Qualifier Against Paraguay

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Lionel Messi made a return from injury, featuring as a second-half substitute for Inter Miami in a Major League Soccer match on Saturday. However, his availability for Argentina’s South American World Cup qualifier against Paraguay remains doubtful.

Despite showing promising signs during training, coach Lionel Scaloni expressed reservations about Messi’s readiness. The star player had recently played just 37 minutes for his club since September 3, owing to an injury sustained during international duty last month. Argentina has won both of its qualifiers thus far and is level on six points with Brazil at the top of the standings.

Scaloni stated, “We still have one more training session, and this is important for him. I need to discuss it with him and ensure that we are confident in his ability to start. He looked good. Based on that, we will determine the rest of the team.”

Scaloni also emphasized the need to consider Argentina’s upcoming match against Peru in Lima, just five days later. He reassured, “What keeps us calm is that, if he is unable to play, whoever takes the field will perform equally well, and that’s the most crucial aspect.”

Should Messi be unfit to play, one option for Scaloni is to start with a striking duo of Julian Alvarez from Manchester City and Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan. He noted that they have previously played together as starters and that he is open to various tactical choices depending on the game.

As for Paraguay, they have earned one point from their initial games and currently occupy the sixth position, which secures the final automatic qualification spot for the 2026 World Cup.

In another fixture, Brazil is set to host Venezuela in Cuiaba, and midfielder Casemiro emphasized the importance of respecting their opponents. Despite Venezuela’s quest for their first-ever finals appearance, Casemiro acknowledged the quality of their players and highlighted the competitiveness of South American football.

Brazil will be playing their third game under interim coach Fernando Diniz, and they are in the process of adapting to a new approach. Casemiro explained that the transition requires time and effort, and they are working to align with the new work philosophy.

In addition to these matches, Thursday’s schedule includes Colombia hosting Uruguay, Bolivia facing Ecuador, and Peru’s visit to Chile.


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