Messi, Neymar intention for World Cup qualifying amid COVID-19 pandemic

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File photograph of Lionel Mesi (left) with Argentina teammate Sergio Aguero.

Lionel Messi and Neymar return to nationwide group responsibility this week to launch World Cup qualifying campaigns that the South American superstars hope will result in glory in Qatar in 2022.

If Messi leads Argentina to its third world title and first since 1986, it will lastly win him a spot within the hearts of Diego Maradona’s trustworthy. At odds with Barcelona, the 33-year-old Messi would be the key for his group, starting once they host Ecuador on Thursday.

Although youthful than Messi, Neymar is also approaching his closing alternatives to guide Brazil to a sixth World Cup. Neymar can be 30 when Qatar hosts the event in November and December of 2022.

Neymar, celebrated at Paris Saint-Germain after a Champions League runner-up marketing campaign however nonetheless criticized by native followers, has an opportunity to begin regaining their love once they host Bolivia on Friday. Brazil final gained a World Cup in 2002.

“We have to play each match as if this was already the World Cup,” Brazil midfielder Bruno Guimarães mentioned.

Video games can be performed between Thursday and Tuesday in empty stadia resulting from coronavirus restrictions. The South American soccer confederation satisfied most native authorities to elevate quarantine measures for incoming gamers.

Ten groups are battling for 4 direct berths. Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia, in that order, begin as favorites for these spots. The fifth-best group can earn qualification by means of an intercontinental playoff, with Peru and Chile as sturdy contenders. The qualifying part ends in March 2022.


Messi could have extra liberty underneath Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni than he has had at Barcelona with new coach Ronald Koeman. He was not anticipated to play resulting from a purple card through the 2019 Copa America, however the punishment was erased as a result of it was alleged to be carried out inside one 12 months.

Lautaro Martínez, who’s in nice type at Inter Milan, and Sevilla’s Lucas Ocampo will play supporting roles to Messi. Manchester Metropolis’s Sergio Aguero is injured.

Messi has not performed for Argentina since Nov. 18, in a 2-2 draw with Uruguay.

Gustavo Alfaro of Argentina will make his debut as Ecuador’s coach within the match on the historic La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires.


Brazil’s first coaching with the complete squad Tuesday suggests an previous partnership can be revived. Philippe Coutinho, a European champion with Bayern Munich and an bettering participant at Barcelona, appeared set to be again within the beginning lineup for Friday’s conflict in Sao Paulo.

Coutinho and Neymar have performed collectively since Brazil’s youth groups, however the midfielder had struggled to get a spot because the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

César Farías of Venezuela can be in control of Bolivia for the primary time, as an institutional disaster continues following the demise of César Salinas, the president of the Bolivian soccer federation, in July. Salinas died from problems linked to COVID-19.

Gamers Ronaldo Sánchez, Ferddy Roca and Mateo Zoch left Bolivia’s coaching floor as a result of their membership, Oriente Petrolero, refuses to acknowledge Marcos Rodríguez as the brand new president of the federation.


Probably the most balanced first spherical match can be performed in Montevideo. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabárez mentioned the dearth of residence help may influence the end result.

“At the moment in prime European leagues, in these circumstances, the massive groups lose factors,” Tabárez mentioned. “The attendance is a crucial half.”

Veteran striker Edinson Cavani, who signed for Manchester United after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, was not referred to as.

Chile’s soccer physique mentioned Tuesday that right-back Mauricio Isla won’t play in opposition to Uruguay resulting from COVID-19.


James Rodríguez is ready lead Colombia in opposition to Venezuela on Friday after scoring three objectives in 4 matches for Everton.

“Now he arrives to this group taking part in recurrently, with extra confidence and fewer accidents. That can be good for all of us,” coach Carlos Queiroz mentioned Tuesday.

Colombia will not have Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina, who didn’t journey due to COVID-19 contagion within the Italian group.

Venezuela, the one South American group that has by no means certified for the World Cup, now has Portuguese coach José Peseiro in cost.


Peru’s coach, Ricardo Gareca, is happy about touring to Asunción for the conflict in opposition to Paraguay. Gareca, who’s Argentinian, hasn’t left Peru for seven months, because the pandemic hit.

“Another day I noticed my daughter, however it has been some time since I final noticed my spouse and my youngsters, solely doing that on-line,” Gareca mentioned Tuesday.

Peru will not have injured striker Paolo Guerrero.

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