Stunning developments in the South America World Cup qualifying rounds as Argentina star Lionel Messi has been banned for four World Cup qualifying matches after swearing at a linesman during last week’s 1-0 win over Chile.
Argentina have only five qualifiers left, and without Messi to lead them, are a serious doubt to reach Russia next summer. It does not bode well for Argentina’s hopes of qualifying that they lost the first match Messi missed, losing 2-0 to Bolivia on Tuesday night.
Messi was suspended for saying ‘la concha de tu madre’, which translates as ‘your mother’s ****’ — a common cursing phrase in Argentina, to Brazilian linesman Emerson Augusto do Carvalho at the end of the match after being harried and fouled by Chile’s Jean Beausejour.
Neither the referee or linesman thought enough of the incident to include it in their match reports, but the Chile FA, who are battling Argentina for an automatic qualifying position, dug up a video of the incident and submitted it to FIFA for review.
Argentina team secretary Jorge Miadosqui said that they will appeal the suspension:
‘We are surprised at the decision. We believe that the sanction can be lowered. Messi is sad, which we all are.’
As well as missing the match with Bolivia, Messi will also be absent for an away game against Luis Suarez’s Uruguay in August and home matches against Venezuela and Peru in September and October.