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South American World Cup Qualifying: A Look Ahead

MessiAguero (Reuters)


When all is said and done next week following the conclusion of South America's two-year marathon of World Cup qualifying, fans everywhere will have witnessed one of the most exciting conclusions the continent's federation has ever produced since its decision more than a decade ago to switch to a home-and-away format for all 10 nations.

During this cycle, the campaign showed surprises (Bolivia's goalless draw in Brazil, Argentina's drubbing in Bolivia, Venezuela's continued resurgence), disappointments (Colombia's lack of offense, Peru's continued descent into bottom-feeder status, Uruguay's Jeckyl & Hyde syndrome) and spectacular displays (Chile's red-hot form, Paraguay's strong initial matches, Ecuador's rally after a slow start).

However, no one could have predicted the outcome that awaits fans in the final two contests. That five teams are vying for one-and-a-half spots will have spectators around the world keeping tabs on all of this weekend's 17th round of qualifiers in CONMEBOL action.

Here's a quick preview of this weekend's games (Note: All matches except for Bolivia-Brazil will be played Saturday at 6 p.m. ET):


Reports in South America are insinuating that Peru, the cellar dwellers in the CONMEBOL table, are being offered cash incentives by two unnamed federations to oust a morale-lacking Argentine side who currently sit in the playoff spot that would match up against CONCACAF's fourth-placed team. Whether true or not, it goes to show you how much press and attention Maradona & Co. have received from the continent, given its delicate situation. Maradona will once again tinker with his lineup and deploy some league veterans into the mix, including Boca Juniors' Martin Palermo. An expected goal-fest will calm nerves for supporters—at least until next week's tilt versus Uruguay.


Less than 9,000 tickets have been sold for Colombia's last lifeline of a match against Chile. With the Cafeteros sitting in eighth place at 20 points, one behind Uruguay and Venezuela and two behind Argentina, they'll need other results to swing their way if qualification is to become a reality. Perhaps that's what's turning off the usually-loyal Colombian supporters. The Chileans are all but assured of booking their ticket if they can pull off at least a draw but the Rojos are capable of snatching a win in Medellin.


Most teams have found it almost impossible to achieve a positive result in the skies of Quito. But Uruguay boasts the firepower and physical traits to match up against Ecuador's finest at 2800 meters above sea level. The question is which Uruguay will show up? Uruguay has some of the world's best at its disposal but collectively hasn't translated that onto the pitch consistently. Meanwhile, Ecuador is close to obtaining its passage to a third successive World Cup and would like nothing more than to celebrate with its people, should it top the Celestes at home.


To many, the Vinotinto has already achieved success by still remaining in contention to qualify with two rounds left. To Venezuela, however, nothing would be sweeter than to snatch six points from the continental giants of Paraguay Saturday and Brazil next week. Both powers are already qualified and could send out some reserves, giving Venezuela a real chance of making a grand statement and possibly qualify to their first finals on a senior level if other results go their way.


Sunday's game is dubbed meaningless.


What do you think of the this weekend's matches? Which games are attractive? Who will end up facing CONCACAF's fourth-placed team? Share your thoughts.


  1. South American Football has always been the entertaining and mystical in the World and the Europeans dread playing them. They should have more self belief as a group of Nations and win more than they do i.e Argies at World Cups. F.I.F.A. should give more places to South America and acknowledge that it is the toughest qualifying group in the World. England would probably not qualify if lumped in with the South Americans. Rick Holden.

  2. Sad that Colombia is in the position it is in after two games ago being in the Drivers seat, funny how things change. But they had no business loosing to Uruguay.

  3. Viva el Peru Carajo!!!…might be a repeat of the 69 game when Peru eliminated Argentina from the 1970 World Cup!

    Posted by: Metrhooligan101 | October 09, 2009 at 01:55 PM

    This one feels more like the Argentina-Peru match up in the 1978 WC…

  4. I don’t know if you can call Venezuela’s performance a “resurgence” because they have never been good. I think “emergence” might be better

  5. There is far too much baby mama drama going on within the Colombian team for them to qualify for the WC. Which is a shame, because if they actually selected the best players instead of the coach having personal vendettas against half of the player pool, Colombia would be in 4th or 5th place…

    Shame to see only 9,000 tickets for Colombia-Chile in Medellin. I was there for Colombia-Ecuador last month, and the stadium & city were electric.

  6. Those Argentina kits are nice.
    I’d look into getting one if they were Nike FlexFit.
    Otherwise this is gonna be an exciting weekend for ol’ footy.


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