Missing Messi, Argentina lose in Bolivia

FC Barcelona expresses its surprise and indignation at the decision by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to suspend Leo Messi following the FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture between Argentina and Chile.

Messi was punished for abusing an official after using "insulting words" towards an assistant referee during Thursday's 1-0 win over Chile.

Messi's suspension is set to begin Tuesday when Argentina plays Bolivia in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

And while his ban won't affect his club side, he has described the punishment as "unfair and totally disproportionate". The first of the four-game suspension was Tuesday's game against Bolivia, which Argentina lost 0-2.

Messi was also fined 10,000 Swiss francs (9,350 euros, $10,170), with FIFA saying: "This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee's previous rulings in similar cases". In contrast, in their eight games without Messi, they have only one win to show for, to go along with three losses and four draws.

"They have cut the legs off Messi and the Argentine national team".

Messi is considered by many to be the best player in the world.

This means that Argentina will have to secure their spot in the World Cup by winning the remaining games without their captain.

Bolivia, as Argentine coach Edgardo Bauza predicted, deployed a high press throughout the first half in hopes of exhausting a visiting squad unused to the altitude of 3,600 meters (11,800 feet). We are alive and wanting to qualify for the World Cup.

As well as the ban, the Barcelona forward was ordered to pay a sum of £8,100 for his troubles as well.

"We know that this is going to be a struggle and we will keep fighting". "Not only he couldn't play, but we didn't have time to work with anyone else". The top four teams progress automatically to Russian Federation, while the side in fifth will enter the play-offs.

The MCG clash is Argentina's next game, before their crucial final four qualifiers against Uruguay (away), Venezuela, Peru (both home) and Ecuador (away).

"We feel powerless, surprised", added Miadosqui, noting that the ban came just hours ahead of the match with Bolivia.

  • Joanne Flowers