Lionel Messi: Barcelona 'indignation' at forward's Argentina ban

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Argentina are out of the automatic qualification places for the 2018 World Cup after losing 0-2 to Bolivia hours after captain Lionel Messi was given a four-match ban.

Meanwhile, Argentina lost 2-0 to Bolivia in their World Cup qualifier in La Paz, hours after Lionel Messi was suspended by Federation Internationale de Football Association for four competitive internationals.

FIFA said Messi was guilty of "having directed insulting words at an assistant referee" and added in a statement: "This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee's previous rulings in similar cases".

"Finally, FC Barcelona want to reiterate their support for Leo Messi, an exemplary sportsman for his behaviour on and off the pitch". "If he's suspended for two, three, four games they are in real trouble of failing to qualify".

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"He's missed quite a few qualifying games through injury - seven matches and they've only won one of them".

The result saw them drop to fifth in the table, outside the top-four spots for automatic qualification for Russian Federation 2018.

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

To rub salt in the wound, Argentina's fierce rivals Brazil qualified for the the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russian Federation after a dominant 3-0 win over Paraguay yesterday morning.

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Argentina lost 2-0 in La Paz without their star player and Messi is adamant that the ban is unfair as he did not direct his frustrations towards the officials.

"We know this is going to be a fight and we will continue fighting".

Argentina will have to go through a play-off against New Zealand or Tahiti should they finish in fifth place in the qualifying group.

However, Argentina is planning to make an appeal against the severity of Messi's ban. That revival saw Brazil take maximum points from their next eight qualifying games, leaving them nine points clear on Tuesday with four games left. "Now we're doing it again, and I'm very happy for that". "Messi has led Argentina to three finals and is under pressure to deliver".

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