Photo via La Voz

La Selección is back in action tonight and needing a win. Luckily for them it’s just against Venezuela, who are not that great at football. Oh, no, that’s not me being mean. Seriously, they are the only CONMEBOL team that has never reached the World Cup finals and have so far only accumulated seven points.

In theory it should be a pummeling. Venezuela has already been eliminated following a dire qualifying campaign. Tonight they will face off against a highly talented Argentina that is desperate for a win.

No, I know what you’re thinking. Is the current team really that talented? We’ll see. They are definitely chronic achievers, though. The World Cup dream never stops – and never should – but right now they are not maximizing their potential.

Despite all the attacking prowess, they have only scored 15 goals in 15 games, which is pretty abysmal and makes me think how something like that is possible. Argentina without question possesses one of the most lethal attacks in the world of football, comprising of Aguero, Higuain, Messi, Dybala, Icardi, Correa, Di Maria and Lanzini, just to name a few. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill footballers scrapping a US $40,000 a month salary in Mexico, but rather playing in Europe’s best leagues, earning more than what some small countries make in a year.

It’s not just the attack has floundered. It’s just that Argentina’s defense looks weak. A sluggish Fazio did little against Uruguay and the back three looks uncomfortable on the whole. Who knows, a potential upset might be in the script.

To make matters worse, reports over the weekend suggested that a rift has emerged between coach Sampaoli and star player Lionel Messi. The reports have been categorically denied by Sampaoli, but it does suggest that a sense of urgency is gripping the Argentine camp. And it’s about damn time.

We can, however, console ourselves as Chile is going through an equally bad patch. A shock 3-0 defeat at home to Paraguay was not on the script, giving Argentina some breathing space. However, despite Chile’s recent success in the Copa America, and all credit to them (God, that hurts), objectively their team is nowhere near as strong as the Argentine National Team.

Messi who has only been featured in 7 out of the 15 qualifying games, has been pivotal to Argentine success. So far, the albiceleste has managed to gather 23 points, 18 of which have been from games that Messi has been featured in.

In Argentina’s favor, Uruguay have to play Paraguay away from home, never an easy fixture. Chile on the other hand has to face Ecuador, and Colombia has drawn the shortest straw in playing Brazil, albeit at home. A defeat for Colombia would see Argentina overtake them, lifting them into the automatic qualifying position. Argentina remains one point behind Uruguay and level with points on Chile.

The National Team currently fins itself in 5th place, and such a finish would see them face New Zealand, an opponent Argentina should easily overcome, in an intercontinental playoff to qualify.

But don’t get me wrong. With the calibre of players Argentina has it’s disposal, a fifth place finish would still be very embarrassing.

TEAMS

MP

W

D

L

GF

GA

+/-

Pts

BRAZIL

15

11

3

1

37

10

27

36

COLOMBIA

15

7

4

4

18

15

3

25

URUGUAY

15

7

3

5

26

17

9

24

CHILE

15

7

2

6

24

22

2

23

ARGENTINA

15

6

5

4

15

14

1

23

PERU

15

6

3

6

24

24

0

21

PARAGUAY

15

6

3

6

16

21

-5

21

ECUADOR

15

6

2

7

23

22

1

20

BOLIVIA

15

3

1

11

13

34

-21

10

VENEZUELA

15

1

4

10

17

34

-17

7