A full slate of World Cup qualifying matches will kick off around the world on Saturday and no match will have more international interest than Brazil vs. Argentina.
Argentina finds itself in the improbable position of fourth place in the South American World Cup qualifying, just a spot away from missing out on automatically qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. Now Argentina must defeat world No. 1 Brazil on Saturday in order to avoid falling even further in the standings, especially with a tough road qualifier vs. Paraguay awaiting on Wednesday.
So how has a team as strong as Argentina fallen into this position? You can blame the team's terrible road form, which has seen Argentina go six straight road qualifiers without a win (0-4-2), a stretch that has included a 6-1 loss in Bolivia and a 2-0 loss in Ecuador.
Argentina has a wealth of talent, led by Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez, but the team has struggled to find its best form and will be taking on a Brazil team loaded with confidence and fresh from winning the Confederations Cup this summer. With the likes of Kaka, Robinho, Maicon and Julio Cesar, the Brazilians won't be considered underdogs despite Saturday's game being played in Argentina.
Argentina-Brazil is just one of the five South American qualifiers on Saturday. Here are the rest:
Peru vs. Uruguay
Colombia vs. Ecuador
Paraguay vs. Bolivia
Chile vs. Venezuela
An Argentina loss, coupled with wins by Ecuador and Uruguay, couple drop the Argentines all the way to sixth place heading into a road match against a Paraguay side that is currently 5-1 at home in qualifying.
So what do you see happening on Saturday? Think Argentina puts it all together and scores a much-needed victory? Do you see Brazil continuing to roll with a win on the road?
Share your thoughts on this weekend's action in South American World Cup qualifying in the comments section below.