Lionel Messi is all set to start for Argentina when the Copa America winners take on bitter rivals Brazil in a South American qualifying match for the FIFA World Cup 2022. This will be the first meeting between the two giants after the suspension of their first-leg fixture in September. (More Football News)
Brazil health officials had invaded the pitch to arrest/remove four Argentine players who reportedly broke the COVID-19 quarantine rules in Sao Paulo. Meanwhile, as things stand, England have secured their place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, courtesy of Harry Kane's four goals as they hammered San Marino 10-0 in the Europe qualifiers.
As things stand now, undefeated Argentina are second in the 2022 FIFA World Cup CONMEBOL qualification table with 28 points from 12 matches (8 wins and four draws). Neymar's Brazil became the first South American side to qualify for the Qatar tournament. They have 34 points from 12 matches (11 wins and one draw).
Messi, who made a tearful move from Barcelona to join former teammate Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain, have been struggling with injuries and played only 15 minutes in Argentina's 1-0 victory over Uruguay. Before that, the 34-year-old missed two PSG matches in France.
But Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni on Monday said that Messi will certainly play against Brazil in San Juan. A win in front of the home crowd could earn Albicelestes a direct spot in next year's World Cup. Four teams will earn direct qualifications from South America.
"A few days ago he was physically fit and at the end we decided that the best would be for him to play for a few minutes so he starts getting that good feeling," Scaloni said. "For tomorrow, it is confirmed that he will play. We hope he finds himself in a good place."
Regarded as one of the greatest rivalries in international football, Argentina vs Brazil matches continue to enthrall fans worldwide. A superclasico indeed! This will be their 113th meeting (including the suspended match in September) with Brazil leading the head-to-head record 46-41. 25 matches have ended in draws. Brazil have not won in Argentina since 2009. Argentina won the last two completed matches by solitary goals, including the Copa America final earlier this year.
Match and telecast details
Match: FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier between Argentina and Brazil
Date: November 17 (Wednesday), 2021
Time: 5:00 AM IST/ 8:30 PM Local (Tuesday, November 16)
Venue: Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario in San Juan, Argentina
TV Channels: Not available in India
Live Streaming: Bet365 (registration required)
Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN) has the rights to broadcast the 2022 FIFA World Cup, European qualification matches in India. And select matches are being telecast live on the Sony TEN 1, Sony TEN 2, Sony SIX and their respective HD TV channels. But there's no official broadcaster for 2022 FIFA World Cup, South American qualifiers in India. Yet, SPSN may get the right to telecast this match, somehow!
Argentina: Canal 7 TV Publica, TyC Sports Play, TyC Sports Argentina
Brazil: Canais Globo, Globo, SporTV, NOW NET e Claro
UK: Premier Player HD, Premier Sports 1
USA: Fubo Sports Network
Messi's PSG teammate Leonardo Paredes is still recovering from an injury, and is likely to be replaced by Guido Rodriguez. For Brazil, Casemiro is suspended. Roberto Firmino is injured.
Argentina: Emiliano Martinez, Gonzalo Montiel, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico, Rodrigo De Paul, Giovani Lo Celso, Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Lautaro Martinez.
Brazil: Alisson Becker, Emerson Royal, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro, Fred, Casemiro, Lucas Paqueta, Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Junior.