Messi Banned From World Cup Qualifiers For Abusing Assistant Referee

The 29 year old's ban came hours ahead of Argentina's match against Bolivia in the South American Qualifiers, where they lost 2-0, jeopardizing their qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

Argentina were made to do without their star man for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia, and the top-ranked nation in world football were humbled 2-0.

Messi launched a foul-mouthed rant at a linesman late in last week's World Cup qualifier against Chile, in which he scored the only goal in an Argentina victory.

Argentina, which reached the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, sits third in the South American World Cup qualifying standings, just one point ahead of fourth-place Colombia and two clear of Ecuador and Chile.

"The club considers the four-match suspension finally imposed on the Argentine player to be unfair and totally disproportionate", it said.

The top four qualify directly for the World Cup in Russian Federation next year and the fifth-placed side go into a playoff against a team from Oceania for another place in the global show-piece event. "We know that this is going to be a battle and we are going to keep fighting". Messi wasn't even carded for the blowup at the time-it was only after the match that the incident was brought to FIFA's attention, by, wait for it, Argentina's CONMEBOL rival, Chile.

They also have to make do without Messi for three of the remaining four qualifiers against Uruguay away and then Venezuela and Peru at home.

Bauza's side now sit in fourth in the table on 22 points, just ahead of Ecuador.Automatic qualification is handed to the topfour finishers while fifth enters into the interconfederation play-offs.

With or without Messi, all is not lost for a team that has played at every World Cup after the 1970 tournament in Mexico.

"They have cut the legs of Messi and the Argentine national team,"he said".

Uzbekistan could still take that place of the South Koreans as only a point separates them but they themselves have a four point cushion over Syria whilst holding onto the playoff place. "Now we're doing it again, and I'm very happy for that".

  • Julie Sanders