The game itself wasn’t a treat. Messi and his teammates met an opponent who resisted skin and hair and couldn’t get past a goalless draw. As second in the table, the Argentines remain on course for the World Cup. The same applies to Brazil. The record world champions turned a 0-1 deficit into a 3-1 victory in Venezuela. Superstar Neymar, Messi’s teammate in Paris, was absent due to a yellow card suspension. Marquinhos, Gabriel Barbosa and Santos score the 71st minute goals for the Seleçao, who lead the table unbeaten with 28 points after ten matchdays. Argentina is second with 20 points, ahead of Ecuador and Uruguay with 16 points. The first four of the South American qualifiers are fixed in Qatar, the fifth has to go to the playoffs.