Football Soccer - Bolivia v Argentina - World Cup 2018 Qualifiers - Hernando Siles stadium, La Paz, Bolivia 28/3/17. Bolivia's Marcelo Martins celebrates next to Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero after he scored a goal. REUTERS/Manuel Claure
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World Cup qualifying started badly for Argentina, and now it's getting a whole lot worse.Argentina sits fifth in South American qualifying, the same position it occupied two matches ago. But a closer look at the team's performance, especially without its banned star Lionel Messi, reveals that the country's campaign for the 2018 tournament in Russia could be in jeopardy.However, the two goals scored against Edgardo Bauza's side in La Paz pale in comparison to the setback delivered by FIFA just hours before kickoff, with the four-match ban handed out to Messi.FIFA took action after Messi insulted a linesman during the team's 1-0 victory against Chile on Thursday -- a game in which FIFA's five-time world player of the year scored the winning goal.With or without Messi, all is not lost for a team that has played at every World Cup after the 1970 tournament in Mexico.Whether Argentina can also restore its fortunes, without Messi, remains to be seen.
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