- Title: Argentina's Sampaoli says team looking to Messi to score against Venezuela
- Date: 4th September 2017
- Summary: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (SEPTEMBER 4, 2017) (REUTERS) ARGENTINE COACH JORGE SAMPAOLI WALKING ACROSS STAGE AS HE ENTERS NEWS CONFERENCE MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) JORGE SAMPAOLI, ARGENTINA COACH, SAYING: "It's very difficult to get a team out of being Lionel-dependant when Lionel is present because when someone knows they have the best player in the world, they will always give them power and we also want Lionel to get more balls than the rest because he can define the play and give possibility to a goal for a teammate or make a goal himself." BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (SEPTEMBER 3, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF LIONEL MESSI TRAINING VARIOUS OF TEAM TRAINING WITH BALL BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (SEPTEMBER 4, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) JORGE SAMPAOLI, ARGENTINA COACH, SAYING: "Tomorrow, we need to win, undoubtedly because of the points in the qualifiers, the only result that works for us is to win, just like with Uruguay. We know that we have to get all the points we can in these four matches and play it risky like Argentina played in Uruguay - with big spaces and going deep into the rival field. It will be the same here. There is no other option." BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (SEPTEMBER 3, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ARGENTINE PLAYERS INCLUDING MESSI, DI MARIA, DIBALA AND MASCHERANO TRAINING PLAYERS ENDING PRACTICE
- Embargoed: 18th September 2017 18:04
- Keywords: Soccer Argentina World Cup qualifiers Argentine national team Lionel Messi Jorge Sampaoli
- Location: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
- City: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: Sport,World Cup
- Reuters ID: LVA0016X6M05B
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Argentina's coach Jorge Sampaoli said his team is looking to Lionel Messi to help it secure a ticket to Russia in 2018.
On the eve of a critical World Cup qualifier at home against Venezuela, Sampaoli acknowledged part of his strategy was to get the ball to Messi, but said his team needed to press Venezuela aggressively, in hopes of earning maximum points.
Argentina is currently in fifth place in the South American qualifying table with only the top four teams guaranteed a spot in next year's World Cup and the fifth partaking in a playoff with Oceania.
Brazil, the only one of the 10 CONMEBOL teams to have already qualified for Russia, and leads the standings with 36 points, but only five points separates second through eighth place.
Colombia narrowly holds the second spot with 25 points, Uruguay is in third place with 24, then Chile and Argentina with 23 but the Chileans hold the fourth spot on goal differential.
With only 7 points, Venezuela is in last place and has been eliminated from qualifying with three more matches left to be played.
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