Bauza: The fight will continue

Edgardo Bauza says Argentina will continue to fight for a place at the World Cup in Russia in 2018 following their 2-0 loss to Bolivia on Tuesday.

A suspended Lionel Messi was forced to watch from the sidelines as goals from Juan Arce and Marcelo Martins secured the result, to leave La Albiceleste in fifth place in their CONMEBOL group.

Only the top four teams progress, with those spots currently occupied by Brazil (who have already qualified with 33 points), Colombia (24), Uruguay (23) and Chile (23). Argentina have 22 points.

After the match Bauza said: "We tried to get the lead in Bolivia, in the second half the team improved a bit.

"Bolivia won well. We have to think about what is coming, we are alive and desiring to qualify for the World Cup.

"We know this is going to be a fight and we will continue fighting.

"I'm not bothered by anything, nobody, or what they say. The fight will continue."

Bauza was, however, annoyed at the timing of the ban on Messi – that was only announced on the day of the Bolivia game.

Messi had insulted a match official in Argentina's win over Chile last week.

Bauza added: "What surprised us was the little time we were given to release a legal response.

"We had half an hour to send the first note. And after that, during the night hours, we stayed until four in the morning for the second note.

"It's strange because FIFA gives you the possibility to deliver an opinion to anyone who can be sanctioned. Not only he couldn't play, but we didn't have time to work with anyone else."