Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has led a boycott of the media, announced following Argentina's 3-0 win over Colombia. Jürgen Klinsmann's future may be in doubt after his US team were thrashed 4-0 in Costa Rica.
Lionel Messi curled home a 30-yard free kick and set up Argentina's two other goals in a match that got them back into the hunt for qualification for Russia 2018. However, Tuesday evening may be remembered more for what happened after the final whistle.
With his teammates standing behind him at the post-match press conference, Messi took the microphone to announce that Argentina's players would now boycott the media following a claim by an Argentine journalist that forward Ezequiel Lavezzi had been caught smoking marijuana in the camp. Lavezzi, who was not in the lineup on Tuesday, has denied the claim.
"We have made the decision not to talk to the press anymore, obviously you know why," Messi said. "There were a lot of accusations, a lot of disrespect, and the accusations they made against 'Pocho' (Lavezzi) are very serious."
The 3-0 victory left Argentina in fifth spot in the 10-team South American standings, with 19 points from 12 games. The top four sides qualify automatically for Russia while the fifth-placed team goes into a playoff with the first-placed team from Oceania.
Klinsmann's job in jeopardy?
US Soccer President Sunil Gulati was noncommittal on Jürgen Klinsmann's future after the United States were humiliated 4-0 in Costa Rica on Tuesday.
"We won't make any decisions right after games," he said following the match, in which the Americans mustered just one shot on goal. "We'll think about what happened today and talk with Jurgen and look at the situation."
The usually upbeat Klinsmann admitted that the defeat, which followed a 2-1 loss to Mexico on Thursday, may have put his his future as US national team coach in jeopardy.
"I understand that when you lose two games and especially two World Cup qualifiers right after each other, that there will be a lot of comments," he said.
The US are in sixth place after their first two games in the final round of qualifying in the CONCACAF region. The top three teams qualify directly for Russia, with the fourth-placed team going into a playoff with a team from Asia.
pfd/sb (Reuters, dpa, SID, AFP)