Ecuador vs. Argentina: World Cup 2018 Qualifying Live Stream, Preview

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2017

Argentina's Lionel Messi (C) gestures at the end of the goalless 2018 World Cup qualifier football match against Peru in Buenos Aires on October 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Eitan ABRAMOVICH        (Photo credit should read EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)
EITAN ABRAMOVICH/Getty Images

Argentina and Lionel Messi could be missing from the FIFA World Cup 2018 finals unless they gain a positive result against Ecuador in CONMEBOL qualification on Tuesday.

The Argentinians currently lie in sixth, outside of the automatic qualification positions and the fifth-placed play-off berth.

The visitors have a poor record on the road against Ecuador but need a victory to sustain their ambitions of a trip to Russia next summer or at least better the results of Chile, Colombia and Peru.

Chile travel to Brazil for their last match, as Peru host Colombia.

Here is how you can watch the final qualifier from South America:

             

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 10

Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET)/12:30 a.m. Wednesday (BST)

TV: beIN Sports (U.S.)

StreambeIN Sports CONNECTfubo.tv.

              

Preview

A World Cup finals without the presence of Messi seems preposterous, but there is a real chance the Barcelona legend will not feature in Russia next summer.

Argentina have clumsily rumbled through qualification in South America, collecting 25 points compared to Brazil's haul of 38.

Scoring goals has been the central issue for Messi and Co., and a goal difference of plus one has placed Argentina on the brink of disaster.

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi (R) takes  part in a training session in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires on October 7, 2017 ahead of a 2018 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier football match against Ecuador to be held in Quito on October 10.  / AFP PHOTO / ALEJ
ALEJANDRO PAGNI/Getty Images

Six nations remain in the mix for a chance to make it to the finals, but Ecuador have already been eliminated after just falling short of the mark.

However, they did avoid defeat in 10 of their qualification matches and will be no pushover for their illustrious and desperate opponents.

The home venue of Quito is at high altitude, and Argentina have suffered there in the past, with little oxygen to sustain an empowered display.

Argentina have lost two of their past three CONMEBOL matches in the capital city, with Ecuador taking advantage of the climate and geography.

The visitors will hope the hosts will be disinterested in a tie that means nothing to them in technical terms, but Ecuador will not lie down with the opportunity to embarrass and humble Argentina. A victory would be remembered for generations to come.

Ecuador's player Antonio Valencia (C) takes part in a training session in the Olimpico Atahualpa stadium in Quito, Ecuador on September 3, 2017, ahead of their upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia South American qualifier football match against Peru.  / AF
JUAN CEVALLOS/Getty Images

Tim Vickery of The Sun wrote the Argentinians are being punished for their reliance on Messi's magic and productivity, as others fail to inspire:

"Argentina have lacked a top class centre back, for example, since the retirement of Roberto Ayala a decade ago – and since then they have rarely looked like a fully coherent team.

"Instead, they have been dependent on flashes of individual genius, mostly from Messi.

"The team that hauled itself to the World Cup final three years ago was heavily reliant on the inspiration of Messi and the grit of Javier Mascherano.

"One of the problems of this campaign is that Messi has missed 8 matches – in which Argentina managed just 7 points.

"Another, a constant in recent times, has been the lack of defensive pace. And the biggest problem of all has been the nerves that can hit a traditional giant when it is in danger of failing so badly.

"Argentina have played the last few matches as if they been running in treacle."

Argentina's Lionel Messi gestures at the end of their 2018 World Cup football qualifier match against Peru, in Buenos Aires on October 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / EITAN ABRAMOVICH        (Photo credit should read EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)
EITAN ABRAMOVICH/Getty Images

In terms of their life cycle, the current Argentina team are on the edge of transition, and it will be no surprise to see Messi hang up his international boots if the side fail to qualify.

The wizard has struggled to impact his nation at the highest level, while constantly achieving incredible feats with Barca in La Liga and Europe.

Current boss Jorge Sampaoli has a quality record through his managerial career, but the issues faced by his squad are deeper than the length of his tenure.

Ecuador will be desperate to spoil the party on Tuesday night, and Argentina will need a huge slice of luck as they look at results from other games to aid their quest.

Chile have a difficult trip to Brazil, but the group winners have nothing to play for after securing their usual spot at the finals.

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