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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Trending: Argentina, Portugal qualify for World Cup; U.S. miss out

Max Bretos and Herculez Gomez evaluate Lionel Messi's impact on Argentina's qualification for the World Cup.

Wednesday's latest stories from the world of football in ESPN FC's What's Trending ...

SOUTH AMERICA QUALIFYING: Argentina conceded after just 37 seconds in their must-win game against Ecuador -- but Lionel Messi came to the rescue as his side booked their place at next summer's World Cup.

- Lionel Messi became the all-time leading scorer in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday, though he was quickly joined by Luis Suarez.

- Lionel Messi said "it would have been crazy a World Cup without Argentina" after his dramatic hat trick secured the nation's qualification for the tournament.

- Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina says he did not expect Peru's indirect set-piece equaliser to be fired at goal by Paolo Guerrero as Colombia were held to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

- Juan Antonio Pizzi is set to quit as Chile coach following their failure to qualify for the World Cup.

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: The United States has failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after losing 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night while both Panama and Honduras won their games to pass the Americans in the CONCACAF standings.

Bruce Arena took responsibility for the shock defeat, but he also said nothing needs to change with the approach of U.S. Soccer.

- Panama scored a hugely controversial goal en route to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over Costa Rica, a result which also helped eliminate the United States.

- Panama president Juan Carlos Valera has declared Wednesday a public holiday in the country after the national team qualified for their first ever World Cup.

EUROPEAN QUALIFYING: Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal confirmed their spot at the 2018 World Cup by beating Switzerland 2-0 in their final UEFA qualifier on Tuesday.

- Netherlands winger Arjen Robben announced his international retirement after scoring both goals in a victory over Sweden on Tuesday.

The seedings for the European World Cup qualifying playoff draw can be confirmed after the conclusion of the group stage, with Italy among them.

LIVERPOOL: Barcelona have said they are in a position to pursue their interest in Philippe Coutinho in January after having bids for the Liverpool playmaker rejected in the summer.

- Liverpool are one of several Premier League clubs tracking Rosenborg midfielder Olaus Jair Skarsem, sources in Norway have told ESPN FC.

- Sadio Mane could be out for up to six weeks after picking up an injury on international duty, Liverpool have announced.

- WATCH: Nicol - Mane's injury disaster for Liverpool

Emre Can says Liverpool's defensive errors would be less obvious had they been more clinical at the other end of the pitch and no one at the club is questioning Jurgen Klopp.

Jamie Carragher says he could not understand why Rafa Benitez felt the need go on his infamous "facts" rant in the midst of Liverpool's 2008-09 Premier League title race with Manchester United.

MAN UNITED:  Midfielder Paul Pogba is back in light training a month after being sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Sir Alex Ferguson broke a promise to take over at Tottenham two years before joining Manchester United, according to former Spurs chairman Irving Scholar.

- Jose Mourinho says Manchester United do not need to prove anything at Anfield on Saturday but has warned Liverpool his team are better equipped to win there than they were last season.

Manchester United are hopeful Phil Jones will be fit to face Liverpool this weekend despite pulling out of the England squad with injury, sources have told ESPN FC.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Martin Atkinson will referee Liverpool's upcoming match with Manchester United, the Premier League has announced.

- WATCH: Tactical Analysis - How Liverpool can beat United

CHELSEA: Eden Hazard has told Chelsea supporters that he will "play bad for some games" as he works his way back into a regular starting role after recovering from a broken ankle.

- The Premier League champions ruled out the possibility of hosting a fight between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. at Stamford Bridge in January, sources have told ESPN FC.

Chelsea could be without N'Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

BARCELONAThe specialist who operated on Ousmane Dembele's knee last month says the pressure on the player to justify his price tag following a €105 million move to Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund could have led to the injury.

REAL MADRID: Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is set to miss Saturday's game at Getafe with a hamstring problem and could also be sidelined for Tuesday's Champions League match at home to Tottenham.

- Former Real Madrid coach John Toshack says injuries are affecting what should be the best years of Gareth Bale's career, and suggested that it may be advisable for his fellow Welshman to leave the European champions for a club where the demands are not quite so high.

ARSENAL: Shkodran Mustafi looks set for an extended spell on the sidelines after limping out of Germany's 5-1 World Cup qualifying win over Azerbaijan.

Olivier Giroud says he was "very close" to joining Everton this summer but is happy he decided to stay at Arsenal.

BUNDESLIGA: RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner has returned to training a fortnight after leaving the pitch early during the club's Champions League defeat at Besiktas and could play at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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