The World Cup qualifiers for the South American Confederation (CONMEBOL) have reached their midpoint this past Tuesday. The reason why I focus on these qualifiers is the fact that South America has the toughest qualifying process worldwide. I’m not ignoring or underestimating the other confederations but I think they all have very uneven national teams competing for a spot that’s obviously guaranteed for the strongest team. I’m getting off topic, lets comeback to what happened in the South American qualifiers and what awaits for the upcoming fixtures. Who is on the right track? Who is at risk? Remember that only 4 qualify directly and 1 plays a playoff game against a national team from another confederation.
The 10 teams have each played 12 games and for the exception of Brazil the rest of the teams still have a chance to fight for a spot. The teams involved in the fight are URUGUAY (23Pts), ECUADOR (20 PTS /+6 GD), CHILE (20 Pts. /+4 GD), ARGENTINA (19 PTS/+2 GD) and COLOMBIA (19 PTS/+0 GD). It’s a really close race and there is no room for mistakes from this point on if a nation wants a world cup spot. The numbers bring us back to the question of who is at risk? Well I honestly hate to sound critical against my national team but without a doubt Ecuador has the biggest risk to miss out on the world cup. Let me explain why before I forget.
Ecuador had a very promising start and gained a considerable advantage at the beginning of the qualifiers, but as I mentioned on a previous blog the lack of consistency is a big issue for us. We managed a considerable win against a “New” Venezuela that really gave Ecuador a hard time until the end of the game. The win gave us breathing space thanks to a win from Bolivia against Paraguay at least until the game between Argentina and Colombia, oh and did I mention we lost against Uruguay? Well we did and thanks to that we managed the 20 points we have now. The nightmare scenario comes into play with Chile, Argentina and Colombia all ready to take down Ecuador from third place. Let me just say we shouldn’t have been struggling like this with the squad we built.
Chile came back strong after outplaying Uruguay and beating them 3-1 on Tuesday. Colombia failed to stop an inspired Messi and lost 3-0 on the same day. The two wins obtained Argentina and Chile left them within a win from the third place, of course they will both have to win the next games by more than one goal. The nightmare would be a reality if Ecuador fails to win their next two games alongside a victory from Argentina or Chile. It’s all complicated I know but the way these teams are playing these results might be possible but im hoping Ecuador wakes up before the next games, if not we are practically saying goodbye to a World cup.
What’s up next? Well since it all depends on Ecuador (no I’m not trying to be one sided but that’s how things look) this is up next for the national teams. The games to watch are Colombia VS Ecuador, Chile vs. Argentina and Uruguay vs. Brazil so given what’s at stake the results I’m afraid of might not happen. The national teams have four months to prepare for these games but be careful with Paraguay and Peru, these are two teams that can give the qualifiers a whole new twist again just to show you how complicated the qualifiers really are.