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Lionel Messi during his World Cup qualifier game against Chile. Photo: EFE
Lionel Messi during his World Cup qualifier game against Chile. Photo: EFE

What a Messi!!!

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After their victory against Chile last week in qualifiers, Argentina looked to be on a surge to secure a place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Not so fast. Their star Lionel Messi has been given a four-match ban from FIFA, which puts their mundial hopes in danger.

The suspension was for “having directed insulting words at an assistant referee”. This is such bad timing for Argentina, who is third in South American World Cup qualifying with Chile on their heels on sixth place by a mere two points.

The team has a possibility of not qualifying for the World Cup if the team falls three spots. The team has to find a way to secure that position for four of the next five qualifiers. The games Messi will miss are against Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Uruguay.

He was viewed arguing with an assistant referee near the end of Argentina’s victory over Peru after being whistled for a foul. The head referee did not see what happened. According to FIFA rules, the Disciplinary Committee can only punish players retroactively if the referee did not see the incident.

Messi has the right to appeal his suspension, which he will most likely do. Sometimes appeals are successful and Messi’s has a good chance to have his ban reduced.  All of Argentina’s World Cup hopes may depend on it.

 

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