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After a goalless tie with Brazil, Argentina qualified for Qatar 2022 in FIFA World Cup

After a 0-0 draw against Brazil, Argentina qualified for next year's World Cup, giving Lionel Messi one major prize.

After a goalless tie with Brazil, Argentina qualified for Qatar 2022 in FIFA World Cup

Argentina qualified for next year's World Cup in Qatar after a difficult and end-to-end match against Brazil at home on Tuesday.

Competition-leading Brazil have already clinched the first of four direct entries for South America to Qatar in 2022. For a seat in Qatar, the fifth-place squad will compete in an intercontinental playoff.

Brazil is six points ahead of Argentina with 35 points. Both teams have played 13 games, one less than scheduled, because their match in September was called off after seven minutes due to late COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Brazilian officials. FIFA is yet to make a decision about the match.

Ecuador has 23 points and is well positioned in third place. Then, with the exception of last-place Venezuela, there's a scramble to qualify.

Colombia and Peru have 17 points apiece, while Chile is in sixth place with 16 points, just ahead of Uruguay on goal differential. Bolivia is unexpectedly competitive, ranking seventh with 15 points. With 13 points, Paraguay cannot be ruled out.

In a difficult match highlighted by Messi's low-key performance and Neymar's injury absence, Argentina and Brazil had little opportunities. For the majority of the game, goalkeepers Emiliano Martinez and Alisson were merely bystanders.

Messi, who returned from a knee injury to play the full match, claimed he felt good on the field. He only played 15 minutes in Argentina's 1-0 triumph over Uruguay last week in order to recover for the upcoming match against Brazil.

"It is not easy to play with the pace that this match demanded," Messi said after the match.

Near the end of the game, he had one chance from the edge of the box, but it was easily blocked by Brazil goalkeeper Alisson.

Brazil's Fred, who hit the crossbar with a shot in the 60th minute, claimed his team's defence was put to the test yet again in qualifying.

"Today we didn't score, we missed some opportunities, but once again we have a clean sheet," he said.

"We hope to arrive well for the World Cup."

The most contentious moment of the match at San Juan, Argentina's northwest, came in the 35th minute, when Raphinha was elbowed in the mouth by Nicolas Otemendi and began bleeding. The move was not reviewed on video. During the break, the Brazilian required five sutures.

Tite, Brazil's coach, was visibly upset with Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha and his video assistant referees over the incident.

"It is simply impossible not to see Otamendi's elbow on Raphinha," he said.

"Was that going to decide the match? I don't know. It was a great match, but there is an element (missing) that should be equal for both teams."

Scaloni of Argentina acknowledged that both teams had few opportunities, but he was more concerned with his team's direct passage into Qatar.

"This year was magnificent. We won Copa America, qualified for the World Cup, and we are in an unbeaten streak," he said, in a reference to his team's 17 wins and 10 draws since the 2019 Copa America semifinal against Brazil.

"To qualify so early, in such tough qualifiers, is something to be proud of."

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