Messi’s ability to become Argentina’s starter remains questionable.Neymar comes under criticism in Brazil

SAO PAULO (AP) — Lionel Messi played in last week’s 1-0 win over Paraguay, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be available for Argentina’s next World Cup qualifying match against Peru.

Messi played most of the second half against Paraguay last Thursday despite battling muscle pain in the weeks leading up to the match.

But despite training with the team, it’s not certain he will feature against Peru on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Neymar was criticized for his poor performance in last week’s 1-1 draw with Venezuela, with some fans throwing popcorn at Cuiabá’s Pantanal Arena. He will face a tough challenge in Uruguay to prove he is back to form.

The next World Cup to be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada will be expanded to a 48-team format, which means the top six teams in South America will directly enter. The seventh-placed team will compete for a spot in the intercontinental play-offs.

World Cup champion Argentina leads the continental qualifiers with nine points, followed by Brazil (seven points), Colombia (five points), Uruguay, Chile and Venezuela (four points), Ecuador (three points), Paraguay and Peru (one point) and Bolivia (0 marks).

On the fourth match day of the South American qualifiers, Ecuador plays Colombia, Paraguay plays Bolivia, and Venezuela plays Chile.

Peru vs Peru Argentina

Argentina’s training session on Sunday did not indicate whether the 36-year-old Messi would play against Peru. He participated in morning sessions at the national team’s training ground but has recently experienced muscle pain in his right leg, which has caused him to miss several MLS games with Inter Miami.

If Messi plays in Peru, head coach Lionel Scaloni may have to omit Julian Alvarez or Lautaro Martinez from the squad that defeated Paraguay. Keeping the captain in the starting XI could mean Argentina face Nico Gonzalez again in Lima.

Against Paraguay, Messi replaced Julian Alvarez in the 52nd minute, with Argentina already taking the lead. He hit the post twice but had a low-key overall performance at the Núñez Memorial Stadium in Buenos Aires.

Peru has lost its last two qualifiers in the South American qualifiers. The team arrived in silence shortly before dawn, so there were no fans to protest at the airport after the 2-0 defeat to Chile. Players and coach Juan Reynoso know they will face a tougher challenge from the World Cup champions.

“Hopefully today’s loss suits us for the next games,” Reynoso said at the post-match press conference in Santiago. “You don’t qualify by playing good football, you qualify by playing well. In order to do At this point, we need to be a chameleon team that can adapt to any environment.”

Uruguay vs Uruguay Brazil

Brazilian fans were frustrated by the draw with Venezuela, a team that has never qualified for the World Cup. Neymar, 31, became the team’s most criticized player after that game due to numerous passing errors and missed shots.

The Al Hilal striker was filmed leaving the pitch angrily, with some fans throwing popcorn at him. Brazilian football tradition refers to players who perform poorly in major matches as “pipoqueiro” (popcorn people). He is likely to face Uruguay on Tuesday at Montevideo’s Centenario Stadium.

Neymar is Brazil’s all-time top scorer with 79 goals in official matches.

Brazil’s new coach Fernando Diniz, who was also criticized after the draw with Venezuela, is likely to make three changes for the next round of qualifying.

Right back Danilo was injured and was replaced by Jan Couto. Left-back Guillerme Arana is expected to be replaced by 24-year-old Carlos Augusto, who will make his first appearance for the national team. Forward Richarlison is on a six-game goal drought for his country and could be replaced by Gabriel Jesus.

Uruguay has not beaten Brazil in a World Cup qualifying match since 2001. After the 2-2 draw with Colombia, captain Federico Valverde expressed optimism about the match. He said he, Real Madrid team-mate Vinicius Junior and Brazilian Rodrygo had spent weeks talking about the encounter.

“We could have had a better result, but at least we got a point, which always suits us,” Valverde said of the draw. Uruguay has been coached by Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa since the start of the South American qualifiers.


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