So the world didn’t explode. Obviously. Thanks to a heroic Ecuador squad and a consistently inconsistent Uruguay one, we’re all still alive here in South America.
I said if the two teams drew on Friday, then CONMEBOL qualifying would cause armageddon. Instead, everything is pretty much settled ahead of Tuesday’s final day of qualifying.
On Friday, Colombia joined Argentina in qualification in dramatic fashion. I, for one, can hardly remember the match. Just that I ate a lot of foam, flour, and beer in the post-match celebration. My camera survived, thankfully.
But here’s the skinny on Tuesday’s matches (all times EST):
Uruguay vs. Argentina, Montevideo, 7:30 p.m
Argentina sits comfortably atop the group with 32pts. The injured Lionel Messi will be especially cozy tomorrow, as he rests himself for El Clásico on October 26. Sergio Agüero is expected to remain in his place up top.
Uruguay meanwhile will be kicking and screaming with might, as only a huge victory can help them stave off a seemingly inevitable playoff with Jordan. A win and a Chilean loss is their only hope. But they need to overcome a -4 goal differential. Count on Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani to run wild at hair fraying and teeth chattering speeds…Then get on a plane to Jordan next month.
Chile vs. Ecuador, Santiago, 7:30 p.m
These two could just kick it around the back for 90 minutes, secure a draw and qualification and flip a massive bird to Uruguay, if they wanted. But let’s hope not.
Chile would be smart to pad their goal difference over Uruguay, who can never be underestimated.
Paraguay vs. Colombia, Asunción, 7:30 p.m
With Gerardo Martino’s exit from Paraguay to coach Barcelona also went their mojo. The darkhorses of the 2010 World Cup and runner’s up in 2011 Copa America, have missed out on the World Cup altogether. Pooraguays.
Meanwhile, Colombia still have something to play for. Despite their heroic comeback Friday, a draw with Chile and a loss to Uruguay in September hasn’t helped their FIFA Ranking. With rules now stating the top 8 teams in the world take the top seeds in the WC draw, Colombia, now 5th, can’t slip against Paraguay and hope to stay in the top 8.
Jose Pekerman has already announced he won’t be starting Radamel Falcao or Teófilo Guitérrez in this one. Porto’s Jackson Martinez and Sevilla’s Carlos Bacca will shoulder the load, which isn’t as light as most people think.
Peru vs. Bolivia, Lima, 10:15 p.m