Argentina can still be at least fifth by a victory in Ecuador, as Peru and Colombia play against each or. Soon after a man of the match display in his first game back - a 3-0 win over Colombia which proved to be a false dawn - Messi led the national team in a boycott of the Argentine media.
Former Barcelona maestro Xavi Hernandez has spoken of Lionel Messi's hunger for the ball during his playing days with the little Argentine, and claims the five-time Ballon d'Or victor starts to get frustrated if he's not involved in play. That will see the teams finish in the following order.
Brazil, who have already qualified in first place, were held to a 0-0 draw by eliminated Bolivia in La Paz earlier on Thursday.
The two-time world champions have struggled for goals in a poor qualifying campaign in which they have had three coaches.
Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli conceded "the situation is not comfortable" but added he was "confident that if we play with the conviction with which we did against Peru we will be in the World Cup".
"We are at an ideal time to face any national team in any venue", Gareca, a former Argentina worldwide player, said.
Nigeria remain on course to qualify for a third successive World Cup, a feat they have achieved only once before in their history.More news: Pulse survivors stand with Las Vegas
Brazil and Chile could play out a draw (Chile won 2-0 in the reverse fixture), Colombia could beat Peru (they won 2-0 in the reverse fixture) and Argentina could beat Ecuador.
It is insane to think that Argentina will not somehow make it to next year's World Cup. "It would really be unfair if a group that put it all out there - like they did - does not advance".
In those three matches, his side has registered one goal - an own goal scored by Venezuela in a 1-1 draw at home.
Four years after the USA delivered Panama their most painful blow, Los Canaleros are out for revenge.
The Argentinean football federation has banned under-18 fans from the stadium in order to have the most electric atmosphere ever during the game. They've allowed 26 goals in 16 games, which is the third-most in the region, after the bottom-of-the-table duo of Venezuela and Bolivia.
European stars to miss out?
Argentina's fortunes largely rest on how other teams perform next week, when they will meet already-eliminated Ecuador who now sit two places below in the table.