WORLD-CUP-QUALIFIERS: Lionel Messi looks to pilot Argentina to another win


(Sporting Alert) — Lionel Messi will be hoping his form at his club will spill over to the national team when he leads Argentina in a CONMEBOL World Cup 2014 qualifier against Paraguay on Friday night.

The Barcelona forward has been in good form so far this season and he’s hoping to play his part in helping Argentina extend their five-match winning streak.

Messi, though, knows that it will be tough coming up against a very competitive Paraguay side.

“Paraguay will be very difficult opponents but we must get the job done at home,” the forward said.

Argentina is set to be without a few key players including Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, who is still recovering from an injury, while central defender Fabricio Coloccini is also out and full-back Pablo Zabaleta remains doubtful with a hamstring strain.

This certainly leaves gaps in the side to be filled, but Messi is confident that the current group have enough quality to replace the players who are unable to play.

“Despite the changes, the group is always as strong and that’s a good thing,” he said.

Paraguay, will be looking to secure its first win away from home in the qualifying campaign and Victor Ayala is hoping tonight will be the night.

The midfielder believes Messi will be the main man – if they can stop him then they stand a chance.

He said: “Without Messi, Argentina is not much better than us.

“If we can control him our chances will surely improve.”