Messi hat-trick gets Argentina through to World Cup finals

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Lionel Messi scored a superb hat-trick as Argentina rallied to win away in Ecuador and qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Los Albiceleste had began the match in sixth position and in danger of not qualifying for a World Cup for the first time since 1970, and made a terrible start in the high-altitude location of Quito and the hosts went ahead after 38 seconds through Romario Ibarra’s headed goal — the quickest goal Argentina had ever conceded in a World Cup qualifier. – Cara Mendaftar Sbobet

However, Argentina, World Cup runners-up in Brazil in 2014, fought back with Messi in stunning form as the Barcelona forward equalised after 12 minutes, playing a quick 1-2 with winger Angel di Maria before stabbing home.

His second goal quickly came eight minutes later with a powerful strike from the edge of the area before a fine solo goal in the second half sealed the victory. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

Argentina, who had numerous low points in their qualification campaign in a 2-0 loss to Bolivia, could also rejoice in seeing Chile — the nation that twice denied them the Copa America in the last four years — were eliminated from their own campaign altogether. – Bandar Bola

Chile, who were aiming to qualify for their third successive World Cup after reaching the last 16 in 2010 and 2014, began the final round of matches in third place that guarantees automatic qualification, but faced a gargantuan test in already-qualified Brazil as their opponents. – Piala Dunia 2018

They fell behind to two Brazil goals in three second-half minutes from Paulinho and Gabriel Jesus, and with Peru scoring a late equaliser against Colombia, Chile needed to score to be in the play-offs.

In injury-time, Chile attacked with all of their players, including goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, in the Brazil half, only for the attack to break down, Brazil launched the ball forward and Jesus walked the ball into the net for his second with Manchester City team-mate Bravo stranded to confirm Chile’s elimination.

Manchester United: injured Marouane Fellaini set to miss Liverpool game

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Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out of Manchester United’s trip to Liverpool on Saturday because of strained medial knee ligaments and it is expected he will need a number of weeks to recover.

The Belgian has scored four goals in six appearances for United this season, including two in a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace in their last game before the international break, and his absence stacks upon player selection problems for United’s manager Jose Mourinho. – Cara Mendaftar Sbobet

The Portuguese had already seen his squad lose a vital player in midfielder Paul Pogba — who was out with a serious hamstring problem.

In Pogba’s place, Fellaini had been paired with Nemanja Matic in the United midfield ahead of Ander Herrera, who was first-choice last season, before sustaining the injury in Belgium’s 4-3 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier in Sarajevo. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

But Fellaini — whose involvement in the game against Bosnia-Herzegovina has already been criticised by a frustrated Mourinho as Belgium had already qualified for Russia 2018 — was forced off the pitch in a limp after just 29 minutes after hurting his left knee in an awkward fall. – Bandar Bola

Mourinho would thus have to to cope with their absence by solely relying on Matic on Herrera in their visit against Liverpool ahead of a busy October for United, which includes six games including playing Benfica in Lisbon four days after the Liverpool game, and a potentially difficult fixture against Tottenham towards the end of the month.

However, further problems could lie just ahead for United as Romelu Lukaku, Fellaini’s club and international team-mate, is due to have a test on Monday before Belgian coach Roberto Martínez decides whether to choose him for Tuesday night’s final Group H qualifier against Cyprus. – Piala Dunia 2018

Lukaku had been absent in the match against Bosnia-Herzegovina because of an ankle problem.

Croatia sack national coach Cacic days ahead of crucial qualifier

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Croatia national coach Ante Cacic had been sacked as his replacement Zlatko Dalic will take over leading the nation before their deciding World Cup Group I qualifier in Ukraine.

“Dalic is the new coach and will be in charge for the last game away to Ukraine,” the Croatian Football Association (HNS) president Davor Suker confirmed the news in a conference on Saturday. “The HNS executive board made a unanimous decision after a long night to terminate cooperation with Cacic. We took only four points in the last four games and had no choice but to take this course of action.” – Cara Mendaftar Sbobet

Dalic, 50, had been a former midfielder who spent the bulk of his career at Croatian side Varteks Varazdin, coaching Emirati team Al Ain in the past three years and leading them to the Asian Champions League final in 2016. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

On the other hand, 64-year old Dalic was dismissed after Friday’s 1-1 home draw with Finland left their hopes of reaching next year’s tournament in Russia hanging in the balance. Currently second in the group with 17 points from nine games, they are two points behind leaders Iceland and ahead of third-placed Ukraine on goal difference.

However, a win over Ukraine on Monday would guarantee a runners-up finish and a playoff berth, with the top spot available only in the unlikely event that Iceland slip up at home against bottom team Kosovo in their final match.

Pressure had began mounting on Cacic halfway through the campaign as Croatia suffered 1-0 defeats in Iceland and Turkey before the draw with Finland allowed Iceland to leap above them. Asked whether Dalic was a long-term choice, Suker said: “Coaches live by their results and we will see what happens. I am confident we can get a result in Ukraine.”

The nine group winners in the UEFA World Cup qualifiers would qualify automatically for next year’s 32-team tournament in Russia, while the eight best runners-up will enter two-leg play-offs for the remaining four berths.

Argentinian Health Ministry urges healthy diet ahead of crunch match

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The Argentinian Health Ministry has reissued instructions that encouraged the country’s supporters switch to healthy alternatives to reduce health risk while watching a crucial World Cup qualifier match against Ecuador.

Los Albiceleste would take on Ecuador on Tuesday in the final clash of the South American campaign, with nothing less than a win guaranteeing them a place in the intercontinental play-offs. – Cara Mendaftar Sbobet

So tight is the CONMEBOL qualifying table that only four points separate Uruguay in second (28) and Paraguay (24) in seventh and a win for Argentina could see them qualify automatically. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

However, Jorge Sampaoli team only salvaged draws in their past three qualifiers and their recent record in Ecuadorian capital Quito, which is 2,900m above sea level, is poor — two defeats and a draw in three games. On the other hand, Ecuador have lost their previous five qualifying games. – Bandar Bola

Chile, who are third, go to already-qualified Brazil, while Uruguay, who are all-but assured of their place in Russia because of their vastly superior goal difference, need just a draw at home to already-eliminated Bolivia to guarantee qualification. – Piala Dunia 2018

Intent on potentially mortalities as a result of the excitement, Argentina’s Health Ministry has once again issued instructions over how to avoid heart trouble during the fixture, recommending an alternative diet and other methods that lower potential health risks over the 90 minutes.

“The passion with which one watches a World Cup game can lead to people with a history of heart troubles suffering strokes or heart attacks,” the report, originally published during the 2014 World Cup, read. “The emotional stress that a penalty shoot-out or a decisive goal can cause is potentially capable of increasing the risk of heart problems, as several studies have shown.”

Apart from changes to their in-game eating habit, fans are also urged to take “active pauses” during the game, standing up, moving their arms and legs and walking around at half-time.