Editorial (October 2, 2017) – Matchdays 17 and 18 of CONMEBOL, the last day of the World Cup Qualification, seems to be the turning point as five teams will face a win or go-home games.
The race to Russia 2018 has been an utopia due seven teams keep hustling for earn one of the three automatic beths still availables.
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying: Dead or alive in last matchdays
Here’s a look of the last two matchdays of CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying, who will take place next October 5th and 10th:
Brazil doesn’t need any results as they lead the South American Qualifying with 37 points, and are just waiting for the kick-off of the World Cup next year. They will play against Bolivia at La Paz and will have an electrifying last match with Chile at São Paulo.
Uruguay is in second place with 27 points, one more point could be enough for Óscar Tabaréz’s team to reach Russia. They will face off against the two weakest teams in the group and already eliminates Venezuela at San Cristóbal and will finish the qualification against Bolivia.
Colombia, who is third with 26 points, comes from two important ties in the last two games, ending 0-0 at Venezuela and saving a point against Brazil in a 1-1 draw on September 5.
José’s Pekersman teams only have to win at Barranquilla against Paraguay to secure an automatic spot in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.
The race comes even closer:
Only four points separate 4th and 8th place in the group. Perú currently occupies the last automatic berth with 24 points, following by Argentina (24), Chile (23), Paraguay (21) and Ecuador (20).
Fourth placed Perú and fifth placed Argentina will have a dead or alive game next October 5th at Buenos Aires, and the winner of that game could be the last direct qualifier.
Argentina is in the Inter-continental playoffs spot. Despite having Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus’ striker Paulo Dybala, the Albiceleste team has yet to show the potential and dominance they’re supposed to have in South American qualifying.
Argentienan recognize journalist Sebastian Vignolo said in a TV show on Fox Spots he would prefer that inter-continental spot if qualifiers ends right now. “The team is not playing as we expected, it’s simply disappointed. I would secure that playoff berth before anything worse happen.”
A draw between Argentina and Perú wouldn’t be enough to reach Russia automatically for any of them.
Chile remains under criticism:
Chilean team situation has dramatically changed as they were defeated in their last two games.
The Copa America Champions could be watching the Russian World Cup on TV due their poor performances in the current qualifiers.
Chile will face a win or go home match against n desperate Ecuador on October 5th. As its last game will be even harder at São Paulo against the leader Brazil.
A draw or lose in this matchday will end Chile’s World Cup dream.
A light of hope:
Paraguay and Ecuador, the last two teams alive, have to win it all and take the six points to have any hope of advancing to Russia 2018.
Paraguay has been in seventh place for most of qualification, but taking a win at Colombia and winning three more points against Venezuela could be what they need to be in the World Cup.
Ecuador is one of the disappointing teams. They started the qualification winning 12 of 12 points, having them a comfortably advantage, but since then they’ve been in a debacle, having lost seven games, four of them in a row, and taking just 8 or the last 36 points.
But there’s still a hope for Ecuador, with 20 points, a win at Chile could encrease its chances as they will finish the qualifiers versus Argentina at its hometown Quito.
The race to Russia almost comes to an end as only four countries from South America will be in the World Cup, while the fifth place has to fight against a team from Oceania.
Bolivia and Venezuela are the only teams who have already been eliminated from CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.