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Messi Leads Argentina Into 2014

Led by the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, Argentina are a team on a World Cup mission.

And two penalties from La Pulga Atomica helped the Albiceleste book their place at the global football showpiece in Brazil next year.

Argentina thumped Paraguay 5-2 in Asuncion to book their ticket to Brazil in fine style on Tuesday night.

A single point would have seen them home, but Messi and his team-mates appear determined to prove their star studded line-up will have to be taken far more seriously than their tactically inept displays in South Africa led them to be in 2010.

A brace from Messi, and goals from Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria and former Liverpool star Maxi Rodriguez, cancelled out the goals scored for the hosts by Jose Nunez and Roque Santa Cruz.

For the past few seasons, Messi in particular has shone for Argentina, eradicating the old saw that he never repeats his club form for his country.

And he has now scored 10 goals in Argentina’s qualifying campaign, leading from the front to ensure their safe progression.

Meanwhile, Colombia again missed out on the point they needed to reach Brazil by crashing to a 2-0 defeat to Uruguay.

The World Cup 2010 semi-finalists have hit good form when it accounts, and while they can still be overhauled by sixth-place Venezuela, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and co are now looking good for automatic qualification or a playoff place at least.

Ecuador drew 1-1 with Bolivia and Venezuela beat Peru 3-2 to ensure that with two more rounds of matches, the South American qualifying race looks set to go down to the wire.

The smart money is on Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay to join Argentina, with Venezuela left to battle it out in the playoff round.

Read: Messi Wants World Cup Medal

Read: Messi Overtakes Maradona

Watch: Paraguay 2-5 Argentina 

Messi Stutters As Argentina Draw

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