‘Liberated’ Messi and Co begin 2026 WC qualifying campaign

‘liberated’ messi and co begin 2026 wc qualifying campaign0

As South America’s lengthy qualifying campaign for the 2026 World Cup gets off today, Lionel Messi, who had a spectacular start to his Major League Soccer career, is back on the field with Argentina.

At the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, Messi and Argentina play their home match against Ecuador to begin their qualification campaign.

Former Argentina and Barcelona star Gerard “Tata” Martino, the Inter coach, claims Messi has been “liberated” after finally guiding his country to the World Cup last year after many excruciating major championship near-misses.

Though Argentina will be co-hosting the tournament in 2026 with the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the question that remains as South America’s qualification campaign gets underway this week is whether Messi will still be around when Argentina looks to defend their championship.

When Messi said in June that he did not anticipate playing in the 2026 finals, it seemed as if he was casting doubt on that possibility.

But manager of Argentina that won the World Cup, Lionel Scaloni, is undoubtedly not in the mood to press the matter.

“There will never be a closed door. On the field, he is content, and that would be great for us,” Scaloni said in January.

Argentina’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup are less dubious, even if worries regarding Messi’s future may yet arise in the future.

As a result of the 2026 enlarged 48-team finals, six of the ten teams who participated in the September 2025 South American qualification tournament will automatically advance to the finals. A playoff round will be reached by the club in seventh place.

Given Argentina’s power, a massive shock would be required for them to miss out on automatic qualification for 2026.

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