This Friday, Uruguay will travel to Argentina as the two South American squads face off in FIFA's qualifying stage.
Both teams have played pretty well this year. After round one, Argentina is currently ranked No. 1 amongst South American teams, winning four games and only losing one of their seven matches. Uruguay is not too far behind as they are in fourth place.
With the host nation Brazil absent from the qualifying competition, both Argentina and Uruguay have a good chance of reaching the World Cup Finals.
Where: Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza, Argentina
When: Friday, October 12, 8:00 a.m. EST
Messi is Integral to Argentina's Success
As I mentioned above, Argentina has been playing exceptionally well in their last few matches. Of their four wins, they have scored a total of 15 goals, only allowing six from their opponents. In total, they have 14 points as a result.
Lionel Messi, arguably the star of the team, has been making waves as usual due to his aggressive playmaking skills. Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova even expressed "we do not know his limits" when speaking of him.
Just this past Sunday, Messi battled it out against Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, scoring two goals during a classic match. Messi took advantage of Portugal's defensive lapses to lead his team to a draw.
If he continues playing the way he has, beating Argentina will be a challenge for the struggling Uruguayan team.
Uruguay's Recent Woes
Uruguay has been successful in the past. They won the Copa America 2011, setting a record with an astounding 15 titles.
Though they are certainly qualified to win the World Cup, Uruguay has not been playing as such recently. Along with their three wins, Uruguay also has three draws and one loss, a 4-0 shutout by Colombia.
In an ugly and devastating loss, the reigning South American champions ended their streak of 19 games unbeaten. Then in a much-needed win against Ecuador, they only managed a 1-1 draw.
Who Will Win?
Though Argentina has been hot, they are definitely not unstoppable, and that includes Messi.
Argentina came to a draw in their last game against Peru. The Argentinians looked particularly bad all night. Even the one goal Gonzalo Higuain scored did not take away from the fact that they did not play their best. Further, Peru held Messi scoreless throughout the entire game.
Uruguay has a lot of pressure to do well since they've failed to do so in their past matches. They have all the momentum and motivation to beat Argentina.
It will be an interesting match for sure, one that most likely will not end in a draw.
Uruguay will step up considerably, but it will not be enough. Messi will not be held scoreless in two straight games. Argentina wins 3-1.