Without suspended Lionel Messi, the Argentinian national team suffered their fourth defeat in the World Cup qualifications, after they lost against Bolivia in La Paz, 2-0.
Marcelo Moreno and Juan Arce scored one goal apiece and led their team to a great victory. Argentina snapped their two-game winning streak and endangered their spot in the World Cup.
They are just two points away from Ecuador and sixth-placed Chile and at this point, they also have one game more.
The home team reached the lead in the 31st minute, when Arce reacted fantastically on a high ball and made a header with his back towards the goal.
In the 52nd minute, the Argentinian defense had a bad reaction and allowed the Bolivian side to double their lead.
Despite this development of the situation, the visiting team didn’t perform well. The altitude in La Paz is very high and every team that plays there has difficulties in adjusting to these circumstances.
The two-time world champions were without any creativity and aggression, and we can say that this is a consequence of Lionel Messi’s absence from the field.
Messi is currently suspended for the next 4 games because he insulted one of the linesmen after the match with Chile.
He was suspended according to FIFA because of insulting words directly spoken to the assistant referee.
“Lionel Messi has been found guilty of violating art. 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee,” FIFA wrote in a statement the afternoon of the Bolivia game.
One of the best players in the history of football will be unavailable for the matches against Uruguay on August 31, Venezuela on September 5 and Peru on October 5, and he will be available for the last game in qualifications, played in Ecuador.
This is a huge blow for the Argentinian team because they are in a bad situation considering their position in the standings. Ahead of them are very, very unpleasant games which they have to win in order to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, or at least to play in the playoff game.
After tonight’s game, it is obvious that Argentina is a far less dangerous team without Messi than with him, and we can just imagine what kind of troubles is this team going to have in the next few games.
On the other hand, Barcelona will consider this as a gift from heaven because Messi will finally have his concentration and focus fully dedicated to his club.