World Cup Qualifiers: Messi doubtful starter; Vinicius back with Brazil
Lionel Messi is again a doubtful starter for Argentina in the next World Cup qualifying match against Paraguay.
The Argentina captain scored in the opening 1-0 win over Ecuador but skipped the 3-0 win at Bolivia last month because of muscular pains that have also sidelined him from several matches for Inter Miami in the MLS.
The World Cup champions are due to host Paraguay on Thursday at Buenos Aires.
Vinicius Jr missed Brazil’s first two games in South American qualifying but is back in the starting lineup after recovering from an injury. The Selecao will take on Venezuela in Cuiaba.
Argentina and Brazil are 2-0 in qualifying for the 2026 World Cup after victories last month. The continental archrivals are due to meet in November.
Colombia is in third spot in the 10-team standings with four points. Uruguay and Venezuela each have three points, followed by Paraguay, Peru and Chile with one point each.
Ecuador hasn’t registered a competition point despite its 2-1 win over Uruguay

By Debra Moran

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