Argentina have steadied their chances of qualifying for the 2018 Russia Fifa World Cup by beating Chile 1-0 , thanks to a penalty goal by Messi. The win meant that the Albiceleste have reached the third position in the group standings and only four teams would directly qualify to the Fifa Cup. Brazil beat Uruguay 4-1 and Colombia beat Bolivia 1-0 in the other qualifying matches. Brazil are ranked first in the group and Columbia fourth, whilst Uruguay are ranked second.

Argentina: Messi scores in the first half

The first half saw Chile starting attacking with Sanchez back in the team after injury.

Chile had taken a lead in the seventh minute but that was ruled offside. Sanchez had delivered a cross but Aranguiz's header was sliced away by goalkeeper Romero. However, it was then put in by Fuenzalida but only to be ruled offside. Argentina took the game in their hands and enjoyed more ball possession after that. Angel Di Maria [Paris Saint-Germain club] came tantalizingly close to scoring the opening goal but his effort was saved by the Chile goalkeeper. After that , Di Maria was fouled by Fuenzalida inside the penalty box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. The the kick was taken by Messi, who made no mistake by whipping the ball into the bottom right hand corner, thus sending Bravo [Manchester City] the wrong way.

It was his 58th international goal. Argentina should have extended their lead minutes before half time when a Messi set-piece ensured that Otamendi got a golden chance but he wasted it by blasting it over the goal.

Messi survives second half

Chile started attacking more in the second half. Both teams failed to create any real chances but Messi got one chance in the 61st minute when Di Maria gave a cut back from the left but that was shot wide by Messi.

Chile did come close to equalizing when Sanchez free kick hit the crossbar after flying over the wall and ensuring that Argentina goal keeper Romeo was also beaten. Sanchez had another free kick but this time it was well over the cross bar. Chile then came close to equalize again through Castillo.

Argentina still dependent on Messi

Romeo is still showing vulnerability in high balls and the midfield is still looking clueless for the Albiceleste unless Messi falls back and takes possession of the ball. Aguero [Manchester City ] had another off game for Albiceleste with Argentina searching for a midfield genius like Juan Roman Riquelme. Pastore was touted as one by Maradona but he and Tevez are not in the scheme of things these days for Argentina. Ever Banega is another player who deserves a chance for the Albiceleste.

Argentina and Messi need to step up in their next game against Bolivia. A clear formation would help Albiceleste reach World cup 2018.