Over the last week, one of the most popular tongue-in-cheek slogans on twitter put out by fans of the Brazilian soccer team, has been “Entrega Brasil” or “give it away Brazil”. Twitterati’s jibe at Argentina, urging Brazil to lose to Chile, making it even more difficult for Argentina to qualify. A world cup without Argentina and Lionel Messi takes away one of the central points of interest and attraction, though Brazilian fans couldn’t care less.
Argentina must now win their encounter against Ecuador in Quito, in order to stay alive and qualify, failing which, for the first time since 1970, the World Cup will be played without Argentina and more importantly, without Messi. A tournament without Messi will lose a lot of charm for soccer fans the world over, not to speak of the effect on ticket sales his absence could have.
Argentina’s coach, Jorge Sampaoli, called on the rest of the team to contribute and not overly depend on Messi. The coach has high expectations of the Paris Saint Germain striker, Angel Di Maria.
As things stand, Brazil, with its flawless campaign in the regional qualifying, continues to stay ahead of the pack with 38 points, followed by Uruguay on 28, while Chile and Colombia stand on 26 each, followed by Argentina and Peru on 25 and trailed by Paraguay on 24.