11th of October 2017 Author: Johnny Karp
Lionel Messi has stepped up and took Argentina at the 2018 World Cup. The Argentinians needed a victory in Ecuador in the final match of the qualification campaign but things seemed to go very bad as the home side opened the scoring after just 38 seconds through Romario Ibarra. Argentina were in serious danger of missing their first World Cup since 1970 but Lionel Messi brought them back to life with a superb hat-trick. He scored the first goal after 12 minutes, then bagged another one eight minutes later and wrapped things up with a solo goal in the second half.
Chile needed a draw in Brazil and even a narrow defeat could have allowed them to reach the playoff at least. Brazil, who were already qualified, took no prisoners as they stormed to a 3-0 victory that sent Chile all the way down to sixth place. Paulinho and Gabriel Jesus scored in a three-minute span in the second half. Chile needed to score a goal to secure the playoff spot and they attacked with the whole team in stoppage time, including the goalkeeper, but they were punished by Gabriel Jesus on a counter attack.
Peru scored a late equaliser at home against Colombia, the match ended 1-1 and the result puts Peru in fifth place and through to a playoff tie with New Zealand for a place at the 2018 World Cup. Uruguay won 4-2 at home against Bolivia to finish second behind Brazil in the South American qualifying group, while Colombia finished fourth following their draw in Peru. The top four teams earn automatic qualification, while Peru are favourites to pull through against New Zealand.
Argentina are 8/1 at Bet365 to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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