Brazil complete revival, 1st to qualify for World Cup


Messi was hit with a four-match global ban this week after directing a tirade of abuse at an assistant following Argentina's 1-0 win over Chile last Thursday, in an incident that appeared out of character for the five-time world player of the year.

On Wednesday, AS passed along comments Messi made to Argentinian outlet La Nacion about the situation and he echoed the country's Football Association's explanation of the incident to FIFA.

"We did not have time to work with someone else".

Argentina captain Lionel Messi picked up a four-match worldwide suspension, and Barcelona leapt to his defence with a strongly-worded statement to Federation Internationale de Football Association.

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Barcelona says Lionel Messi's four-match global suspension for insulting a linesman was "unfair and totally disproportionate".

While Messi will be forced to sit out the next three of Argentina's World Cup qualifiers, the 29-year-old is set to return to La Liga action with Barcelona this weekend.

Barcelona says it "wishes to reiterate its support for Leo Messi, an exemplary player in terms of conduct both on and off the field". We are alive and want to qualify for the World Cup.

The Albiceleste are now in danger of missing the World Cup.

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He was fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,160) by FIFA's disciplinary panel and is due to miss three more of Argentina's remaining four World Cup qualifiers, against Uruguay, Peru and Venezuela, after sitting out the defeat to Bolivia on Tuesday. Although sixth-place Ecuador is only two points behind in the standings, fourth-place Chile and third-place Uruguay are just one point above.

However the sacking of former coach Dunga and the appointment of former Corinthians coach Tite was the catalyst for a Brazilian resurgence.

With Colombia and Chile both winning, Argentina slipped to fifth in the South American qualification race - with only the top-four teams earning an automatic ticket to Russian Federation next summer.

He said, after scoring his 52nd global goal: "I am very happy for this moment, not only mine, but also my teammates'".

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Philippe Coutinho had opened the scoring for the hosts in the 34th minute with a neat one-two with Paulinho before curling a low, left-foot shot past goalkeeper Anthony Silva and inside the far corner while Marcelo completed the tally.