The story

Some of the world's top footballers remained eligible -- barely -- to compete in next year's World Cup after tense matches late Wednesday in Europe and South America.

Top of the list is playmaker extraordinaire Lionel Messi, whose national team Argentina scraped a 1-0 win against Uruguay in Montevideo to secure the fourth automatic place from the South American group.

Fifth-placed Uruguay now face a November playoff against Costa Rica, the fourth-placed team from the CONCACAF group, to secure a spot in South Africa next year. Read full article »

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