Football shock as reigning Olympic champs miss out on Paris 2024, door left open for Messi

    Brazil were denied the chance of winning a third straight men’s Olympic football title after defeat to Argentina knocked them out of qualifying for the Paris Games.

    Champions in Rio 2016 and the Covid-delayed 2020 Tokyo Games, Brazil only needed a draw against their arch continental rivals on the final day of the South American pre-Olympic tournament in Venezuela.

    But Argentina it is who now go to France seeking a third title after 2004 and 2008 courtesy of Luciano Gondou’s second-half goal in Caracas.

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    The holder of the second ticket to Paris 2024 from South America will be decided later between Paraguay, who only need a draw, and Venezuela.

    This qualifying tournament was restricted to under-23 players unlike at the Olympics where teams are allowed to call on the services of three overage reinforcements.

    And Argentina will now be on the phone to try to persuade one very special 36-year-old player, Lionel Messi who starred in the 2008 run to Olympic gold, to join them in Paris.

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