Cristiano Ronaldo

Will Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi Miss The World Cup?

Arguably the best players in the history of football, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have left their mark on football. But with their national teams they both seem to struggle. The biggest football showpiece goes down next year and both players stand a risk of missing out.

Qualification for a World Cup is usually a marathon not a sprint. Qualifying games are played for nearly two years prior to the World Cup itself. This again is why FIFA international breaks, although loathed by a plethora of club football faithful, is (should be) taken pretty seriously by players, if they intend on qualifying for a FIIFA major tournament.

Big footballing countries, a chief example of which is Netherlands, who have been lackadaisical during FIFA weeks, have paid dearly by missing out on two major tournaments; Euro 2016 and now, Russia 2018. Two other top countries who stand that risk are Argentina and Portugal. Both countries are homes to two of the greatest players this generation – Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

With nearly 1200 career goals between them, it’s quite surprising that none have won the world cup and already in their thirties. Winning the World Cup aside, they must first qualify for next year’s showpiece. With players like Ronaldo or Messi in any team, it’s quite bizarre that we’ll be discussing their country’s non-appearance at a World Cup, but it is what is; a tree truly doesn’t make a forest.

Argentina

Argentina have been nothing but lackluster in this qualifying campaign. No bite, no drive, puffing smoke with no fire. The Argentines are a shadow of the dominant South American giants that have dominated world football for decades.

In the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying standings, La Albiceleste sit sixth and are only jostling for that fifth spot in order to qualify for a playoff place. To achieve that, they must first travel to the Ecuadorian capital Quito to face Ecuador tonight and pick up a win.

There are other mathematics that favour Argentina, like if Chile lose to Brazil in Brazil or if Peru gets beaten by Columbia but it’ll all count for nothing if Argentina fail to beat Ecuador in a win or burst encounter. Fail to win and Lionel Messi’s becomes the first Argentine team to fail to qualify for a World Cup since 1970.

Portugal

Much unlike Argentina, Portugal haven’t been overly poor in qualifying, given their standards; they’re, however, second in the running for an automatic place in group B of UEFA World Cup qualifying because of the resilient form of the Switzerland national team. The Portuguese are three points behind the Swiss, although they have a superior goal difference.

Cristiano Ronaldo and co will play the ultimate group decider against Switzerland tonight, at home. Not so much of a win or burst for either teams; the loser could still have a shot at qualification via a playoff. However, that route isn’t guaranteed either.

Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka has equaled the match to a “World Cup final”, a pointer to the fact that the Swiss would prove tough for the Portuguese. Switzerland need a draw to win the group. Would that win see Ronaldo miss the World Cup? There’s a possibility before kickoff.

As it stands before tomorrow, there’s a possibility that two of the best players who have ruled the game for the last decade stand a risk of not featuring in the World Cup. Crunch ties to watch out for in the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers tonight.

About the Author Kingsley

I am a football/soccer connoisseur who enjoys crafting interesting articles like the one you just read.

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