By FRANCO PANIZO
If Alexis Sanchez and Chile are going to end their current two-game losing streak and try to jump back into a top four spot in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, they are going to need to knock off arguably the hottest team in the South American region right now.
Having slipped to fifth place in the standings after a pair of 3-1 losses, Chile hosts Argentina on Tuesday in the 10th match-day of CONMEBOL qualifying. Chile needs a result to avoid falling further in the table and gain some momentum going into next year, as the next set of qualifiers won’t take place until March.
Leo Messi and the rest of the albiceleste have other things in mind, as they’re looking for a victory to further solidify their spot atop of the nine-team table. Argentina is fresh off a 3-0 win over Uruguay, so confidence should be high as they head into Estadio Nacional in Santiago.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of the 10th round of CONMEBOL qualifying:
As far as intensity goes, Peru vs. Paraguay might be as good as it gets. Both teams have struggled through the first half of the qualifying campaign and their hopes of reaching Brazil 2014 could hinge on the result of this game at Estadio Defensores del Chaco in Asuncion, Paraguay. Having grabbed a result in Bolivia with a team comprised of players fit for playing at altitude, La Blanquirroja will return to regulars like Juan Vargas and Jefferson Farfan as they battle Nelson Haedo Valdez and a last-place Albirroja team whose fans are not going to be content unless they get three points.
Venezuela has a chance to possibly jump back into the top four, but La Vinotinto will have to beat a team that has not lost in four games to even give themselves a chance of doing so. Venezuela captain Juan Arango will look to help guide his team to a home win over a red-hot Ecuador team that boast talents such as Felipe Caicedo and Christian Benitez. La Tri have surrendered just two goals in their last four matches, so Venezuela’s attack will need to be clicking if they are to have any shot at taking all three points inside of Estadio Jose Antonio Anzoategui in Puerto La Cruz.
Typically the doormat in CONMEBOL, Bolivia can get right back into the thick of things if it can pull of a victory over slumping Uruguay. Luis Suarez, Diego Godin and the rest of Los Charruas are currently on a three-game winless streak and have to go into Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paza, which is difficult due to play in due to its high altitude. A win there for Bolivia on Tuesday could not only push La Verde up from their eighth-place spot, but it would also bring Uruguay within four points.
What do you think of these matches? How do you see Chile faring against Argentina? Think Peru or Paraguay will improve their chances of qualifying?
Share your thoughts below.