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Argentina reach new low: 73 shots without a goal in WC qualifiers

Not only are Argentina on the verge of missing out on qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in nearly 50 years, their inability to score in CONMEBOL qualifiers is also reaching historic lows.

Argentina drew 0-0 at home against Peru on Thursday and enter the final round of World Cup qualifying in sixth place in the table.

They need to win at Ecuador on Tuesday in order to guarantee at least a spot in a playoff with New Zealand. They have not missed out on qualifying for the World Cup since 1970, when it was held in Mexico.

The draw against Peru marked their fourth consecutive game without scoring a goal of their own (their 1-1 draw against Venezuela was the result of an own goal).

The last time Argentina went four consecutive competitive games without scoring a goal was in 1990, when they did not score in their World Cup opener against Cameroon after failing to score in the last four games of the 1989 Copa America.

Lionel Messi's form has been one of the biggest problems for Argentina, as the striker has scored only four goals in the nine games in which he has appeared.

Messi, who missed eight qualifiers because he was injured or banned, has not scored in his last three games. The last time he did not score in three consecutive games was in the 2015 Copa America, when he had a goal in the opener but did not score again in the final five games of the competition.

That's still not his longest stretch without a goal in a competitive game, as Messi once went 16 games -- the last six games of 2010 World Cup qualifying, the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 Copa America -- without scoring.

Argentina have also been poor at home this qualifying cycle, having lost twice and gone five games without a win. They went five home games without a win in the two previous qualifying cycles combined and, in that span, lost just once at home, falling 3-1 to Brazil on Sept. 5, 2009.