Lionel Messi's participation in Argentina's World Cup qualifier against Paraguay uncertain
Lionel Messi's availability for Argentina's crucial South American World Cup qualifier against Paraguay is shrouded in doubt as he returns from injury. Despite positive signs in training, coach Lionel Scaloni remains cautious about Messi's readiness.
Lionel Messi, recently returning from injury, played as a substitute for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer, but his participation in Argentina's upcoming South American World Cup qualifier against Paraguay remains in doubt. Despite showing promise in training, coach Lionel Scaloni expressed uncertainty about Messi's readiness for the match. Argentina is currently tied with Brazil at the top of the table with six points from their two qualifiers. Scaloni highlighted the importance of a final training session and also considered the upcoming game against Peru.
Should Messi not be fit to play, Scaloni is considering options like starting Manchester City's Julian Alvarez and Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez as a pair. Paraguay, with one point from their initial games, occupies the sixth spot, the last automatic qualification spot for the 2026 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Brazil will face Venezuela, with midfielder Casemiro emphasising that Brazil won't underestimate their opponents, who are seeking their first appearance in the World Cup finals. Brazil is still adjusting to a new approach under interim coach Fernando Diniz. The games on Thursday also feature Colombia hosting Uruguay, Bolivia taking on Ecuador, and Peru visiting Chile.