Bloody Hell! Would you look at that? A cursory glance at the below table will explicitly show you how far away Argentina’s World Cup goals are.

Let’s face it. The blokes messed up. Starting with the decision to play Messi (the world’s best player) BEHIND a little heard of Dario Benedetto in the game against a defensively strong Peru.

Now, Paulo Dybala has been in stunning form at Juventus but unfortunately failed to make it to the starting 11. Hmm… Apparently Sampaoli felt Dybala and Messi had too little playing time together and the pair playing together could just have proved more detrimental to the final result. (Really? More detrimental than this?)

They were already in deep waters given that Chile won their game against Ecuador taking Argentina to a painful position of no. 6 on the board. (See board below)

Here’s what went down. The ‘hombres’ from South America had a lot of ball time. A lot. So kudos to that.

Set pieces – A good number of them too but none that could convert.

Shots on target – Again, way more than their opponents but none on target. (See table below)

So what even happened then? Did the boys slack character? Was the ball positioning wrong? Was the Peruvian defence just too good, even for the world’s best player? Could be.

But is it fair to be blaming Messi alone? Football is a team sport and Messi is the kind of forward who is accustomed to getting scintillating crosses from the likes of a Luis Suarez, a Pique, an Iniesta and a Busquets to start with. So no, let’s not just focus all our attention on the Barcelona forward yet. Besides, we’ll just let you decide for yourself. Here are extensive highlights of the game:

Moving on, a close look at positions 3 to 6 on the board will show you that they are literally neck to neck and it’s anybody’s game. 2 out of these 4 will make it to the World Cup along with a Neymar powered Brazillian side and a Suarez driven Uruguayan side. Let’s dig in a bit.

Chile will be playing an already qualified Brazil and a loss for Brazil wouldn’t be that bad at all but could mean the WORLD (Cup) to Chile. #PunIntended

What is enticingly interesting is that no. 4 Colombia will be playing a no. 5 Peru and a draw in this game is EXACTLY what Argentina and Chile would be praying for. And trust us, we can hear the prayers all the way here from half way across the world.

Newsflash: Not very long ago Xavi Hernandez,Messi’s mid-fielding maestro at FC Barcelona had made it public that Messi creates magic with the ball but would really get pissed off if he didn’t get the ball.

Sounds fair, given his uncanny ability. Evidently that didn’t work out in the game against Peru. Ecuador are sitting at the bottom half of the pitch and they’ll be up against a very very very desperate Argentina on 10th October and the world will be hoping that the runners up to the 2014 season do NOT get thrown out even before making it in.

Sooo..who’s your money on?