5 factors that will influence Argentina's chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup
As Argentina prep for their important qualifier against Ecuador, here are the factors that could decide the outcome of their World Cup hopes
Under-fire Argentina travel to Ecuador in their FIFA World Cup Qualification Round and as it stands, the 2014 Runner-ups won't make it to the tournament unless they pick up a win.
A sight which none could've imagined, Lionel Messi is in serious danger of missing out of next year's event.
"It would be a great injustice if Messi retired without winning a World Cup." - Gianni Infantino
The monumental match to be played at the challenging Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa is the last opportunity for the Argentines to enter the World Cup through direct qualification. Danger lurks upon La Albiceleste, who could even lose the playoff place if they lose.
Let's ponder over five major talking points about the match as Argentina's hope hangs by a thread:
#1 Conditions at Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa
The iconic stadium will be the host for the clash in the final round of matches in the CONMEBOL qualifying stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. A tricky scenario, the multi-purpose stadium in Quito rests upon the top of the Andes at an altitude of nearly 3 kilometres above the sea level.
Ecuador were surprisingly unbeaten in the 2006 and 2014 qualifiers at their scenic home, while opponents usually struggle and succumb under the severe playing conditions at Quito.
Brazil's players were reportedly administered with oxygen supply after their game against Ecuador at the Atahualpa. It would be a test of nerves for the Argentines as they will have to combat all odds to make it to the World Cup, under challenging conditions, against a team playing for pride.