ARGENTINA: no Messi no party! (stats without Leo)

The injured star was missed again as the Albiceleste suffered a 1-0 defeat to Paraguay, and it is not the first time they have struggled without their skipper

From his team-mates, to schoolteachers and even the country’s president: everybody in Argentina pitched in to try and convince Lionel Messi to change his mind after announcing his retirement from international football.

And when you look at the team’s record with and without the captain, that clamor was hardly surprising.

Argentina were far from their best in a 2-2 draw against Peru last Thursday, with Messi back in Barcelona recovering from an injury. Then, on Tuesday, the Albiceleste fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Paraguay.

It was the seventh match in which he has played no part during the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, and his absence has often been sorely felt by the nation.

With Messi in the team the Albiceleste boast a perfect record, having won three out of three games against Chile, Bolivia and Uruguay, with four goals scored and just one conceded.

But in the seven games he has missed Argentina have won just once, against Colombia in 2015.

A defeat against Ecuador was followed by draws against Brazil and Paraguay at the start of the qualifying campaign, and three consecutive games without victory means Edgardo Bauza’s team have taken just seven points out of the 21 on offer without their talisman, scoring six and conceding eight.

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