Argentina are fifth in the South American qualifying group on 24 points, the same as fourth-placed Peru, who hold the advantage on goal difference. The side that finishes fifth will face New Zealand over two legs next month.
Lionel Messi produced some moments of magic in Buenos Aires, but the hosts were unable to break through in the 0-0 draw, leaving Argentina in sixth - outside the qualification spots - in CONMEBOL qualifying, ahead of a trip to Ecuador on Tuesday.
It seems a very unreal prospect that perennial contenders Argentina will not be at Russian Federation 2018.
The Argentina worldwide has scored 11 league goals in seven outings this term, 48 per cent of the club's total haul, as Ernesto Valverde's side sit five points clear at the top of the table. We just missed a goal.
"The team never gave up and gave their all".
Do you think Lionel Messi is the greatest player of all time? Argentina couldn't take advantage of those chances, however.
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Later the Saudi monarch invited President Putin to Riyadh. "The market can absorb it", he said, speaking at an energy forum in Moscow .
When is Ecuador vs Argentina?
"The team is already thinking about what's coming in the match against Ecuador", he said.
Alexis Sanchez was on hand just minutes later to score the victor from close range.
Brazil have already qualified for Russian Federation on 38 points, while Uruguay (28) need just a draw from their final game against Bolivia to advance. After that, it's too close to call, with four teams chasing the two automatic spots.
Uruguay, who are second with 28 points from 17 games, missed the chance to book their place in Russian Federation after being frustrated 0-0 away at Venezuela.
In Europe, defending champion Germany clinched a place with a 3-1 win in Northern Ireland, while England beat Slovenia 1-0 to secure its berth. Including the points for that win, Peru then picked up 20 points in the following 10 matches, shooting up all the way to 4th in the table.
Striker Eduardo Vargas drilled in a low shot on 22 minutes to put the 2015 & 2016 Copa America champions 1-0 up. That was followed by a less impressive yet still surprising performance at the Copa America Centenario in the U.S. the following year, where they topped a group featuring Ecuador and Brazil; they would go on to lose in penalties to Colombia in the quartefinals.