Rio de Janeiro, Oct 9 (IANS) Football striker Gabriel Jesus has delivered an apparent boost to Argentina’s hopes of securing an automatic berth in next year’s World Cup by insisting Brazil will be playing to win their final qualifier against Chile on Tuesday.
Five-time World Cup winners Brazil lead the COMMEBOL group standings with 38 points from 17 matches and are already guaranteed of a place in Russia, reports Xinhua news agency.
Argentina must win their final match in Peru just to secure a playoff spot, but could leapfrog third-placed Chile if Brazil win their clash at Sao Paulo’s Allianz Parque.
“We have played three matches since qualifying for the World Cup and that hasn’t changed the seriousness with which we have been playing,” Manchester City striker Jesus told a press conference on Sunday. “When you put on the Brazil shirt you always play to win.”
When asked about the prospect of a World Cup without Argentina star Lionel Messi, Jesus replied: “Messi is one of the game’s greatest ever players but we are just thinking about ourselves”.
Brazil centre-back Miranda was more forthright about the possibility that Argentina could miss the World Cup for the first time since 1970.
“A World Cup without Brazil, Argentina and Germany loses its appeal a little,” the Atletico Madrid defender said. “But each team thinks about their own situation.”
“We were also going through a difficult time at the start of the (CONMEBOL tournament) and we were able to qualify on our own merit. Our obligation is always to win.”