What do Argentina need to qualify for the 2022 World Cup?
Argentina take on Brazil in San Juan in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying on Tuesday, with Lionel Scaloni's men close to sealing a place at Qatar 2022.
Argentina can book their place at the 2022 World Cup when they host already-qualified Brazil in San Juan on Tuesday evening - but they’ll need results elsewhere to go their way.
The Copa América holders sit second in CONMEBOL’s 10-team qualifying group, six points behind Brazil, who confirmed their World Cup berth in a 1-0 win over Colombia on Thursday.
The top four in the group will qualify automatically, with the fifth-placed finisher going into an inter-confederation play-off against a team from Asia, CONCACAF or Oceania.
Argentina could reach World Cup with either a win or a draw
With four matchdays remaining after Tuesday’s qualifiers, Argentina have a 12-point advantage over Chile, Colombia and Uruguay in fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively.
This means that Lionel Scaloni’s men will open up an unassailable lead over fifth place if they can increase their points advantage over two of those three nations on Tuesday.
Argentina will therefore be guaranteed a berth at next year’s World Cup if they beat Brazil and any two of Chile, Colombia and Uruguay fail to win. La Albiceleste will also qualify if they draw with Brazil and two of Chile, Colombia and Uruguay lose.
Chile host Ecuador, Colombia are at home to Paraguay and Uruguay visit Bolivia.
Argentina certain of qualification with four points from two games
Although Argentina might not clinch a spot at the World Cup even if they beat Brazil, they will make sure of qualification regardless of their rivals' results if they take at least four points from Tuesday's clash and their next qualifier after that.
After facing Brazil, the two-time world champions are scheduled to take on Chile in Santiago on 27 January 2022.
Both Argentina and Brazil have played one game fewer than the rest of the CONMEBOL group, after their matchday-six clash in São Paulo in September was suspended after seven minutes over alleged quarantine breaches by England-based Argentinian players.
It remains unclear whether the fixture will be fulfilled or a result automatically determined. Speaking in October, FIFA president Gianni Infantino called for the game to be played, telling reporters: "It is always good to decide matches on the pitch and not off the pitch. It isn’t always possible, we have rules. Let’s see what FIFA’s disciplinary bodies decide.”
Argentina vs Brazil: times and how to watch
Argentina vs Brazil will kick off at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario at 8:30pm local time. In the United States, that’s 6:30pm ET and 3:30pm PT.
Viewers in the US will be able to watch the World Cup qualifier on Fubo Sports Network.
You’ll also be able to follow live-text coverage of the game with AS USA. Dane Arlauckas will be on hand to take you through the action in San Juan as it happens.
Messi to face Brazil - Scaloni
Argentina head coach Scaloni has confirmed that Lionel Messi will start for the hosts on Tuesday, after the superstar forward came on for the final quarter of an hour of Thursday’s 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Uruguay.
Messi, 34, has missed Paris Saint-Germain’s last two matches with knee and hamstring issues.
Brazil, meanwhile, will be without Messi’s PSG striker partner Neymar, after the 29-year-old picked up a thigh injury in training ahead of the trip to San Juan.