Argentina captain Lionel Messi is fit and will start the World Cup qualifier at home to Brazil on Tuesday,but Neymar will miss out for the visitors after feeling pain in his thigh, the teams announced.
Argentina coach Scaloni made similar comments ahead of the side’s last game, a 1-0 win against Uruguay on Friday, although Messi only appeared for the final 14 minutes of the match.
Argentina is second in South America’s 10-team qualifying group, six points behind Brazil, which is the only team from the region to have secured its place at Qatar 2022 so far.
Scaloni repeated that Messi, 34, had recovered fully from the knee and hamstring worries that kept him out of Paris St Germain’s last two games and was ready for one of the biggest matches in the South American calendar.
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“He was physically fit the other day and in the end we decided that the best thing was for him to play a few minutes so that he could get a feel of it and he is confirmed to play tomorrow,” Scaloni said ahead of Tuesday’s match in San Juan.
“It’s going to be a very difficult game,” said Scaloni. “They are the team that lead the qualifiers and they are already through to the finals.”
Brazil will be without Neymar after their top scorer reported feeling pains in the adductor region of his left thigh.
“Neymar Jr said he felt insecure about the situation and as there is not enough time to carry out complementary exams the technical commission decided to rest the player who will not travel with the team to San Juan, location of Tuesday’s game against Argentina,” the Brazil team said in a statement.
The top four teams in South American qualifying progress automatically to next year’s World Cup finals and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.
Argentina is unbeaten in 26 games, a run that includes a 1-0 win over Brazil in the Copa America final in Rio de Janeiro in July.