Lionel Messi will feature for Argentina in the major South American clash against Brazil, but his friend and PSG teammate Neymar, the star of the Brazilian national team, will miss the match due to injury.
Despite struggling with a knee problem, Messi will start for Argentina. He played for a quarter of an hour in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Uruguay a few days back, but has missed PSG’s last two games.
“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,” Argentina national team head coach Lionel Scaloni explained. “For Tuesday, it’s confirmed he will play. We hope he finds himself in a good place.”
If they win in San Juan, then Argentina, who beat Brazil to the Copa America title in July, will join their arch-rivals among the South American teams qualified for the World Cup next year.
Unlike Messi, Neymar will need to watch the big game on TV. The attacker felt pain in his left thigh, with the Brazilian medical staff ultimately deciding not to allow him to travel for the match.
“Because there’s not enough time to perform more exams, the coaching staff decided to spare the player, who will not travel with the squad,” the Brazilian FA said through a statement.
PSG’s Leondro Paredes is also in doubt for Argentina, while Brazil won’t be able to play Casemiro, who is suspended for this match.
Odds on Messi
Argentina is the favorite to win at +130, with Brazil at +260. A draw stands at +190. Brazil hasn’t won away against Argentina, their biggest rivals, since 2007. The bookies have prepared a set of special odds for this South American Clasico. Messi scoring and assisting goals in the game brings +350, while two assists from Messi return +600.
A bet on Messi sending the first shot on goal in both halves returns +2,200, with Messi scoring at least one goal before, then after halftime, is at 1,000. A Messi goal in the first 20 minutes means +900. Want a courageous one? Try Messi netting at least twice from outside the box at +4,100.
Argentina vs Brazil starts at 00:30 CET. The Argentines are second in the South American qualifiers, undefeated in the 12 matches they have played so far. Still, they drew four times and sit six points behind Brazil, whose record is almost perfect in the preliminary round so far: 11 wins and one draw.