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CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying wrap: Messi’s Argentina in trouble

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Brazil and Uruguay gave themselves impressive cushions in their quest to qualify for World Cup qualifying, while third place and eighth are separated by four total points after Matchday 11 of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.

[ MORE: USMNT-Mexico primer ]

Barcelona’s superstars wearing No. 10 could not have had more different evenings. Lionel Messi couldn’t get anything going for hapless Argentina, watching as Neymar and Brazil throttled the visitors in a display that recalled the breathtaking, electric attacks of Brazil’s past.

All that and more in the wrap, including standings and Matchday 12 fixtures at bottom.

Brazil 3-0 Argentina

Brazil looks as good as ever, as Philippe Coutinho, Neymar, and Paulinho scored in the game’s first 60 minutes to boost Brazil well above the fray and — barring a shocking collapse — into Russia 2018. Lionel Messi and Argentina face a five-month stay outside the qualifying places if they can’t handle their business at home to Colombia on Tuesday.

Uruguay 2-1 Ecuador

The hosts will have a hard time missing out on Russia if they tried after first half goals from Sebastian Coates and Diego Rolan boosted Uruguay to a win over Ecuador, which got a goal from Felipe Caicedo.

Colombia 0-0 Chile

Chile’s new lease on World Cup life includes an impressive defensive display in Barranquilla. The draw moves Colombia third in the table, but that’s just two points ahead of sixth place Argentina. Chile is fifth, and would head to the interconfederation playoff if qualifying ended today.

Paraguay 1-4 Peru

The hosts needed this one, and took a ninth minute lead before it all came crashing down after halftime. Christian Ramos leveled the score in the 48th minute, and three goals in 13 minutes propelled Peru to within a point of seventh place Paraguay.

Venezuela 5-0 Bolivia

How dispirited was Bolivia after its recent ineligible player scandal led to four forfeited points? Judging by their performance at winless Venezuela, quite. Josef Martinez scored a hat trick to lift Venezuela out of the CONMEBOL qualifier basement.

1. Brazil — 24 points
2. Uruguay — 23 points
3. Colombia — 18 points
4. Ecuador — 17 points
5. Chile — 17 points
6. Argentina — 16 points
7. Paraguay — 15 points
8. Peru — 14 points
9. Venezuela — 5 points
10. Bolivia — 4 points

Tuesday’s Matchday 12 (all times EDT)
Bolivia vs. Paraguay — 3 p.m.
Ecuador vs. Venezuela — 4 p.m.
Chile vs. Uruguay — 6:30 p.m.
Argentina vs. Colombia — 6:30 p.m.
Peru vs. Brazil — 8:15 p.m.

LIVE — USMNT seeks ‘payback’ v. Canada in CONCACAF Nations League

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The USMNT’s CONCACAF Nations League hopes are on the line when it meets Canada in Orlando at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.

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The Yanks seek to avenge a 2-0 loss to the Canucks in Toronto last month, one that heaped pressure on coach Gregg Berhalter.

If the USMNT fails to win on Friday, a match Canada also needs for its World Cup qualifying hopes, it will bow out of the tournament before the semifinal round.

There’s no place for DeAndre Yedlin in the back line, as Tim Ream‘s been chosen to play right back with a center back pairing of John Brooks and Aaron Long. Sergino Dest starts on the right.

The midfield will have Jackson Yueill lying deep, with Weston McKennie and Sebastian Lletget also getting the call.

Gyasi Zardes starts at center forward with Jordan Morris and Paul Arriola on the wings.

EURO qualifying wrap: Sweden joins Finland in qualifying

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Finland and Sweden have qualified for EURO 2020 after posting big wins on Friday, the former doing it at home to relative minnows Liechtenstein while the latter scored an impressive win away to Romania.

[ WATCH: G. Jesus’ comical penalty miss ]

Romania 0-2 Sweden

Marcus Berg and Robin Quaison scored first half goals as Sweden qualified for its sixth-straight EURO. Both are having decent starts to the club season. The veteran Berg has scored five times for Krasnodar, while the 26-year-old Quaison has scored four times for Mainz this season.

Spain 7-0 Malta

The Spanish had seven different goal scorers beginning with Alvaro Morata and Santi Cazorla providing a 2-0 halftime lead. Spain out shot Malta 25-1, with Pau Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo, and Gerard Moreno also scoring for an experimental squad.

And what if we told you Jesus Navas scored? Cause he did.

Denmark 6-0 Gibraltar

Christian Eriksen scored twice in the final five minutes after Robert Skov’s brace came sandwiched around Christian Gytkjaer and Martin Braithwaite goals. The Danes climbed to the top of Group D, one point better than the Swiss and three better than Republic of Ireland (who it meets on the last match day).

Switzerland 1-0 Georgia

Granit Xhaka went 90 minutes and Cedric Itten scored the game’s lone goal as the Swiss joined the Danes in climbing above Republic of Ireland.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-3 Italy

The Azzurri were clinical on Friday, with Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne, and Andrea Belotti bagging

Norway 4-0 Faroe Islands
Finland 3-0 Liechtenstein — RECAP
Armenia 0-1 Greece

WATCH: Gabriel Jesus comically misses penalty; Messi pots winner on Argentina return

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As long as Lionel Messi is on the field, Argentina and Brazil is going to be must-watch no matter the location.

Messi converted a rebound of his own won and saved penalty to score his 69th international goal in Argentina’s 1-0 win in a Saudi Arabia-hosted friendly on Friday.

[ MORE: Finland makes history ]

It was Messi’s first match with Argentina since the summer, when he was banned three months for claiming the 2019 Copa America tournament was fixed for hosts Brazil.

Let’s be real, though: You should be here for this terrible penalty miss from Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian also won his penalty, but his miss was a dreadful dribble wide of the frame. It clicked three boxes of terrible: no direction, no conviction, no technique.

Pique: Griezmann growing into Barca role “little by little”

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This summer, there was plenty of talk that Barcelona’s players wanted Neymar in town and quite the opposite regarding Antoine Griezmann.

The Atletico Madrid star was the player purchased by Barcelona.

[ MORE: Finland makes history ]

Griezmann, 28, has four goals and three assists in 15 matches, but the bulk of that outlay came in two matches and he’s without a goal or assist in the UEFA Champions League.

A bit different from his 21 goals and 10 assists in 48 matches last season, at least on the goals end, but the Frenchman is settling into a new club and city.

While it’s not like his new teammates think he’s garbage, they aren’t sugarcoating their opinion of his transition nor downplaying their lofty opinion of Barca.

Here’s Gerard Pique, via AS.com:

“Real Sociedad and Atlético were teams who played for Griezmann. That’s not the case at Barca, because the level is higher and he has to find his place in the side. Little by little he’s finding it. He’s got the quality and talent for it.”

Pique also blew off Barca’s extra rest before the new El Clasico date, and talked about Leo Messi’scontract talks as well as his relationship with Sergio Ramos. It’s all here.