Brazil coach Carlos Dunga seems to be pinning most of his hopes (like the rest of the country) on his nimble-footed star from FC Barcelona — Neymar, saying that he is at par with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

. Both Brazil and Argentina are at unexpected places on the 2018 World Cup Qualification table for South America, and would be looking for nothing but a win against each other, on Thursday.

Brazila s situation is relatively better, as they are on the fifth spot, just one point below Paraguay, who occupy the fourth and the last place for a direct ticket to the 2018 World Cup, in Russia.

However, their place as the giants of South American football has diminished over the last decade or so, as the other teams from the continent have started to challenge their supremacy.

In fact, the Selecao have now been reduced to just one star, which is a bit of a shame for a country that boasts of legends like Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, and many more. And this list just contains players who have played in the 21st century.

Dunga however, has to make do with what he has, and he seems to be pinning his hopes on his star player.

a If we look at the ranking by numbers and statistics, Neymar is superior right now,a Dunga was quoted as saying in the Daily Express.

a Messi is injured, Cristiano is expected to repeat what he did last year.

a Neymar has improved consistently since he arrived at Barcelona. He has done all that was expected of him with Messi out. He’s in great form.a

The 23-year-old Brazilian has scored 11 goals in 10 La Liga appearances this season, and this is something that has helped his side FC Barcelona pip arch rivals Real Madrid to the top of the table, ahead of the International break.

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino fed up of Messi dependency talk

At the other end of the spectrum, therea s Argentina, who have managed to reach two major finals in the last couple of years (2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America), but have performed miserably at the qualifiers so far.

Manager Gerardo Martino has had to do without his star player Lionel Messi in recent times, as the FC Barcelona forward is out injured. However, he does not believe that his team is too dependent on Messi.

“When we lose, there is Messi dependency, and when we win, you do not talk about that,” Martino was quoted as saying by “The reality is that the team reached two finals in 10 months, but people can see it otherwise.a

He further said, “The loss of Messi is important. The absence of players more accustomed to scoring also makes it more difficult to reach the goal. Against Paraguay we failed in our finishing, we had five or six clear chances to score.”

Argentina have been in a dire state in their first two matches, picking up just one point, and being in the seventh place. If things continue the way they are, Martinoa s men wona t even be able to secure a play-off spot for the 2018 World Cup, let alone direct qualification.