Argentina's players Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano walk by head coach Edgardo Bauza. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
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Not even the return of Lionel Messi from a three-game absence managed to save Argentina from losing 3-0 to Brazil last week.Only the top four teams are guaranteed a spot in the finals in Russia in 2018, with the fifth-place finisher competing in a four-team intercontinental playoff for two spots.In their last four games, Argentina drew with Venezuela and Peru, and lost to Paraguay at home before being dominated by Brazil.With 16 points, one back of Ecuador and Chile, Argentina are not completely out of the picture. Argentina have scored only 11 goals – fewer than half of the 26 scored by first-place Brazil.Paulinho, who scored one of the goals against Argentina, said Brazil go to Peru poised for their sixth consecutive win since Tite took over as the team's coach.
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