Lionel Messi's highlights during Argentina 0-0 Peru show he's fighting a lost battle

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Argentina are in serious danger of missing out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia following their woeful 0-0 draw with Peru on Thursday night.

Lionel Messi and co. were leapfrogged by Chile and now sit sixth in the table, below the four automatic qualification places and the only play-off spot.

It's now all down to next Tuesday's trip to Ecuador, though they need results to go their way elsewhere in the group.

What doesn't bode well for Argentina is that they're struggling in front of goal; in their last four qualifiers, they've only scored once - and that was an own goal.

Manager Jorge Sampaoli, though, remains confident his side will gain qualification to next year's tournament, despite the odds being against them.

"I am still confident that we will be at the World Cup," he said afterwards. Today was a very good game. We just missed a goal. I am very hopeful and excited about what is coming.

"The team never gave up, put in a huge effort and deserved another result."

Sampaoli certainly wasn't wrong about Argentina creating numerous chances but being let down by their finishing.

They attempted 13 shots at goal against Peru and hit the target seven times, yet failed to beat the goalkeeper on every single occasion.

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Argentina were so bad, in fact, that the same old argument resurfaced of Messi being let down by his teammates.

Sampaoli hinted as much, saying: "Messi played a great game, created chances and gave good passes."

Contrary to what Sampaoli said, Messi wasn't at his best at La Bombonera, but time and time again he created goalscoring opportunities for his teammates but saw them wasted.

A highlights reel has now emerged demonstrating how the Barcelona star is fighting a losing battle. No matter how hard he works for his teammates, he gets nothing in return.

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It was in the second period that Messi created the most chances, but Argentina's players continued to fluff their lines.

In the 46th and 57th minute, for example, the 30-year-old put two of his teammates through on goal but watched as they fired straight at the goalkeeper.

Messi missed the rebound when he should have scored in one scenario, but even the best miss from time to time.

A World Cup without Lionel Messi in his prime sounds unthinkable, but it could soon become a sad reality.

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