Well, it’s official. I’m moving to Peru. I don’t blame you if you just stop reading here…
If you’ve chosen to continue, this is We Global Football’s very first CONMEBOL post. Based on the talent both on and off the field in that region of the world, there hopefully should be many more. Just as many other confederations will do this weekend, the South Americans will play games on both Friday and Tuesday to get a little bit closer to Brazil 2014.
Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador all look to be in great position to qualify. With only 7 games remaining (8 for Colombia), each team is more than a game up than the 4th place squad Venezuela. Beyond the current top 3, Venezuela, Chile, and Uruguay are all straddling the in/out line, but nobody is truly out of it yet. That could all change after this round.
Argentina vs. Venezuela – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Venezuela has a real tough 2 game stretch this weekend, and it starts with a trip to Group leaders and our #5 ranked team, Argentina. This is not going to end well for the Venezuelans. Messi is playing as well as anyone has in the history of the game. The man has scored in 18 straight La Liga matches totaling an unheard of 29 goals. This is pretty much the worst possible scenario for Venezuela. I’d expect a drubbing and an easy 3 points for Argentina. Argentina would need only 2-3 more wins to qualify for Brazil.
Prediction: Argentina by 4
Uruguay vs. Paraguay – Montevideo, Uruguay
This is going to be a very tough game for Paraguay. They must come away with something if they truly want to keep their hopes of qualifying alive. Uruguay hasn’t had the best stretch of late, but their competition has been top notch, and they’ve played all over the world. Finally, Uruguay returns to their home crowd where they haven’t played a qualifier since last September. This is one of those games you really should win if you’re Uruguay. At home against the last place team in the standings is your best opportunity. It probably won’t be pretty, but we think Uruguay gets it done.
Prediction: Uruguay by 1
Peru vs. Chile – Lima, Peru
I hope you’ve bought your ticket to this one. The picture at the top of the screen came from the most recent Peru/Chile fixture, and that was a ROAD game. You can only imagine what kind of display will be put on in Lima. This is probably the most important match on Friday. Each team is fighting desperately to get back into contention. Surely, Chile will want to repeat their finals appearance after a nice showing in South Africa. If the Chileans can steal a point on the road, they should be pretty content with their standing. We see this ending in a draw, but this is definitely the match to watch.
Colombia vs. Bolivia – Barranquilla, Colombia
With no matches scheduled other than World Cup Qualifiers, Colombia should be extremely focused on the task at hand. Bolivia has had some holes poked in their boat and are taking on water, but they were able to stay afloat by defeating Uruguay in October. I think Colombia is armed with cannonballs aimed directly at the Bolivians boat. If Bolivia can get anything out of this match they would be elated, but I’d be surprised if Falcao doesn’t tally and put the Colombians in superb qualifying position.
Prediction: Colombia by 3
Bolivia vs. Argentina – La Paz, Bolivia
Perhaps it is just my knack for detail, but I recall the last time Bolivia hosted Argentina in World Cup Qualifiers, they recorded a decisive 6-1 victory over the Argentinians. I can’t be the only one that remembers this. With each of these teams surely coming off opposite results, Bolivia is going to have to find some of their magic from 4 years ago in this one. After this match, Bolivia only has 2 more home games and one of them is against Ecuador. While there is a lot of hope for success, in the end I don’t think it will be enough. This Argentina squad is just too good.
Prediction: Argentina by 1
Ecuador vs. Paraguay – Quito, Ecuador
With the day off on Friday, Ecuador will have a severe advantage here. Paraguay will have just had to travel to Uruguay followed by this trip to Quito. 2 away matches in 5 days is not ideal. If Paraguay is unable to get anything out of the Uruguay match, I think they’ll be a sitting duck here. With only one game to focus on and no travel for Ecuador, they will come out firing on a wounded squad. This could be the match that truly turns the tide in CONMEBOL. A powerhouse on the continent seemingly only a few years ago, Paraguay will be relegated to last.
Prediction: Ecuador by 3
Chile vs. Uruguay – Santiago, Chile
This is going to be another fun one. With these two teams hovering around the in/out line for Brazil, even more is at stake in this fixture. If Uruguay is somehow able to stun the Chileans with a road victory, they will be in outstanding position. It will not be that easy, however. Chile knows that if they are able to secure all 3 points here, they have a very favorable schedule down the stretch. These two will most likely be battling it out until the end to see which team is able to lock up CONMEBOL’s final guaranteed berth. The home field advantage is going to be the deciding factor in this one.
Prediction: Chile by 1
Venezuela vs. Colombia – Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela
We anticipate Colombia thrashing Bolivia at home, and we anticipate them packing their aforementioned cannons in the training package for Puerto Ordaz. This is the one match where the We Global projections seem to be a little optimistic. Venezuela is right in the thick of things and at worst need to get a point from this game. If not, their last 5 games are against Paraguay, Peru, Chile, Venezuela and Bolivia. They are done with the top 3 after this match. Perhaps we’ll be wrong, but we think Colombia scores 3 and takes 3.
Prediction: Colombia by 3
That’s all for now. Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador appear to be in great qualifying shape already, and we anticipate that to continue following these matches. The 4th spot and 5th place playoff team are still up in the air. We’re looking for a team to separate themselves from the pack and show they want it. It could be Chile or Uruguay. All I know is that I’m rooting for Peru. Solid dental work might be enough to get me in.
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