Lionel Messi Sergio Aguero
Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero train ahead of Argentina's clash against Chile.Reuters

Chile will face Argentina in the fifth round of the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos in Santiago Thursday. Argentina are in the sixth position in the qualifying points table from the CONMEBOL region, while Chile is just above them with seven points.

The magnitude of this match will not be similar to what it was when these the two sides met the last time in the Copa America Final at the same venue in 2015.

In that game, Chile and Argentina could not break the deadlock until the end of the  extra-time and the result had to decided on a shootout.

Chile defeated Argentina 4-1 in the penalties to win the Cop America trophy. By winning that, Chile automatically qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, which is supposed to be held in Russia. 

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino is under a lot of pressure after having collected just two points from the first three matches of the World Cup qualifiers against Brazil, Paraguay and Ecuador. 

The only match that Lionel Messi and co. has won was against Colombia and that too by just a solitary goal. 

Lionel Messi has been in incredible form for his club Barcelona and he will look to emulate that form for his national side as well. Sergio Aguero, on the other hand, has not been in best of form for his club Manchester City, and he will look to use this platform to get bacak to goal-scoring form. 

This will be a major boost for Martino's side as Messi will be able to feature in the playing XI against Chile. He could not play in any of the qualifying games ahead of this as he was injured and sideline for months. 

Juventus's Paulo Dybala and Napoli's Gonzalo Higuaín have also been called for this clash. Their attacking options are definitely enviable. 

Meanwhile, Chile will be missing a number of key players from their playing XI. Bayern Munich star midfielder Arturo Vidal, Eduardo Vargas and Jorge Valdivia remain suspended. Chalres Aranguiz is also sideline due to injury. Gonzalo Jara has also some fitness issues. 

Probable XI's:

Chile: Bravo; Mena, Jara, Medel, Isla; Diaz; Gonzalez, Vidal; Beausejour; Sanchez, Vargas

Argentina: Romero; Rojo, Funes Mori, Otamendi, Mercado; Mascherano, Biglia; Di Maria, Banega, Messi; Higuaín

Where to watch live

The FIFA World Cup Qualifying game between Chile and Argentina is scheduled to start from 8:30 p.m. local time (5:00 a.m. IST, 11:30 p.m. GMT, 7:30 EST) start. India viewers can tune into Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. Livsports will stream the game live. 

Viewers in US and Canada need to switch to beIn Sports Connect and stream the same on beIn Sports

Also read
Quick Links