Di Maria takes Argentina to brink of World Cup

Angel Dimaria’s early first half goal was enough to put Argentina on the verge of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Qatar as Lionel Messi was left on the bench for the 1-0 win away in Uruguay.

The goal at the Campeon del Siglo stadium in Montevideo was the only difference between the sides in a match dominated by Uruguay. 

“Sometimes you just have to win and we managed that,” Scaloni said. “Not playing well, certainly, but it still counts.” 

The defeat left Uruguay in a World Cup play-off spot, behind Colombia and Chile in the final two automatic qualification positions on goal difference. Nahitan Nandez should have given Uruguay a fifth minute lead after Argentina failed to deal with a long throw into the box.

In the 75th minute of the game, Scaloni summoned Messi from the bench but he had little impact on the game.

“This team has great courage and when you don’t play well, you still have to win,” said Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. “Winning today was a huge step. We deserve it because we work very hard.”

The result means Argentina – who are unbeaten in 26 matches – will qualify if they beat Brazil on Tuesday and any one of Colombia, Chile or Uruguay fail to win.

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