Two years of CONMEBOL qualifying will soon be coming to an end. A 9 team round robin tournament is a lot of matches, but the time has finally come for some teams to clinch a spot in Brazil and some teams to pack up their campaign for good. Argentina and Colombia should be able to qualify without incident while Ecuador and Chile also are looking good. Bolivia and Paraguay are virtually cooked. With Argentina idle on the 6th, they’ll have to wait until the 10th to officially clinch a spot in Brazil.
Let’s get into the previews!
Paraguay vs. Bolivia – Asuncion, Paraguay
Both Bolivia and Paraguay need this one desperately. Each has been eliminated from a Top 4 position, so at best, reaching the play-off against an Asian side is the goal. Paraguay has shown absolutely nothing in qualifying as the usual whipping boys of CONMEBOL have suddenly become too powerful for these sides. Bolivia is ahead in the standings but have only 3 games to play. If Paraguay loses, the best they could do is end up in a 3 way tie for 5th. If Bolivia loses, they’re officially eliminated. We see the latter happening.
Prediction: Paraguay by 1
Colombia vs. Ecuador – Barranquilla, Colombia
If Colombia wins this match, they’ll be all but through. Believe it or not, Colombia is currently our #1 ranked team ahead of Spain. Not only have they been that good, they’ve won matches by a significant amount while playing one of the toughest schedules in the world. Ecuador would love to come away with something here, but it is not the end of the world if they come up empty. With greener pastures over the horizon, Ecuador may just take their lumps and move on. They are not very strong away from home as it is. We expect a big win here.
Prediction: Colombia by 3
Peru vs. Uruguay – Lima, Peru
What an enormous matchup this is. If Peru is serious about making a run at Brazil, they need to take care of business against Uruguay. They’ve been passed by Uruguay in the standings, but things can change quickly. Peru has performed very well at home which will make this one even tougher for Uruguay. While losing here would not be the end of the world for Uruguay, it would virtually lock them into a fight to the finish with Peru and Venezuela. Peru has a trip to Argentina still on the calendar and must deliver here. We think they will have just enough to get it done.
Prediction: Peru by 1
Chile vs. Venezuela – Santiago, Chile
This is Venezuela’s final match away from home, but coming away empty handed will severe impair their qualifying hopes. Given that Peru plays Uruguay, a loss here would guarantee Venezuela is behind at least one of the teams while each still plays an extra game. Leaving everything to the end will probably doom them. Chile has a tremendous opportunity here which they must capitalize on. Like Venezuela, they too only have 2 matches after this. Their matches, however, are against Colombia and Ecuador. The 3 points here are simply a must. Getting to 24 points may get them close to a top 4 spot. They’re a far better team, and it should show.
Prediction: Chile by 3
We’re predicting our first CONMEBOL casualty on the 6th. We think Bolivia bites the dust after a fateful match with Paraguay. Colombia and Chile should improve their chances of reaching Brazil. Here are the projected standings:
Paraguay vs. Argentina – Asuncion, Paraguay
It’s hard to see a couple things not happening here. Those being Paraguay being eliminated from qualification and Argentina punching their ticket to Brazil. These two teams are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. If Paraguay happens to defeat Bolivia to stay alive, it should only be a matter of time until the final nail is put in their coffin. Argentina could also qualify directly if Peru doesn’t beat Venezuela, but you can be sure they’ll take care of business here.
Prediction: Argentina by 2.. to Brazil
Bolivia vs. Ecuador – La Paz, Bolivia
Another game in the mountains of Bolivia, but this time the Bolivians have nothing to play for other than pride. Coming off a likely loss to Colombia, this is a huge match for Ecuador. They’ve fallen on hard times and need to right the ship quickly with other teams charging fast. They would love for the match with Uruguay to be meaningless, but unfortunately they’ve fallen off their strong starting pace. We would have certainly predicted a bigger win here months ago, but Ecuador is definitely not playing at the level they were. Bolivia should put up a fight, but it probably won’t be enough. We think Ecuador gets to the edge of clinching a spot in Brazil.
Prediction: Ecuador by 1
Uruguay vs. Colombia – Montevideo, Uruguay
This is the game to watch in CONMEBOL. Uruguay is still clowning the FIFA rankings after winning the 2011 Copa America, but we don’t give them that much credit. They’ve certainly played better over the last few months. I think this match will be a sure sign of where Uruguay’s chances of reaching Brazil stand. If they show up and get a point or better from Colombia, they’re a sure threat to come back and reach the finals despite a poor start. If they don’t show up, the team that the WGF rankings have been hating on all along will be proved to be just a middle of the road squad. This is going to be a great match. Our predictor likes the teams at the top and likes Colombia to also officially punch their ticket to the World Cup.
Prediction: Colombia by 2… to Brazil
Venezuela vs. Peru – Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela
We’ve already given out the game to watch above, but this one certainly has the most on the line. If what we predict happens up to this point, Venezuela could actually be eliminated with a loss in this one. They’ve fallen hard after being in the top 4 for a majority of qualifying. Our rankings had them as one of the most overrated nations, and the standings are starting to reflect it. Peru, meanwhile, really needs to get something out of this game if they want to try to get a leg up on Uruguay. These teams are very even, and despite the home advantage, we don’t think Venezuela will have enough to get the job done.
Our xCRO predictor has been hating on Uruguay for awhile and this is why. Getting any points going forward is going to be extremely difficult and Ecuador and Chile just seem to be too far ahead to catch. As we’ve expected all along, it’s more than likely going to be a 3 team battle between Peru, Venezuela and Uruguay to play the winner of Jordan and Uzbekistan. We expect the standings to look like this.
CONMEBOL is winding down its qualifying, but it certainly isn’t losing any steam. Argentina and Colombia look to be fine, but there is still so much uncertainty. I think Uruguay is the team to watch here. They’re still the 10th favorite to win the whole World Cup, and there’s a legitimate possibility they don’t even reach the finals.
Thanks for reading our preview, and be sure to keep checking weglobalfootball.com for the latest updates. We’ll also be posting new articles on Twitter @We_Global. We hope you enjoyed the preview. Until next time.