As we go into the final set of South American Zone qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, it is case of all or nothing for several teams involved. Still up for grabs are one direct passage to next year's showpiece as well as a play-off spot against a CONCACAF representative. brings you a closer look at all the permutations for each of the national sides still racing headlong for a place on world football's biggest stage.

On the plane
Brazil, Paraguay and Chile have already guaranteed their involvement at South Africa 2010, with their final encounters merely an opportunity to finish as high as possible in the standings.

Staying at home
Peru, Bolivia and Colombia are mathematically out of the running with even fifth spot, the play-off berth, beyond them at this point.

How things stand
Points, goal difference, head-to-head records... these situations can be beyond complicated at times. No need to get out the calculator, however, just allow us to list the results which Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador and Venezuela - the teams still in the hunt for a direct and/or play-off position - need to achieve on 14 October.

Key matches

Argentina (25 points; GD +2): Diego Maradona's charges will qualify automatically with a win over Uruguay in Montevideo, while a draw will also suffice if Ecuador fail to beat Chile by at least five goals in Santiago. The latter scenario would put La Albiceleste in the play-offs, though if they lose against age-old rivals La Celeste, and Ecuador topple La Roja, Lionel Messi and Co will miss out altogether.

Uruguay (24 pts; +9): Las Charrúas have their fate in their own hands, given that victory over Argentina in the Estadio Centenario will send them directly to South Africa 2010. A draw, on the other hand, would give them a play-off spot, providing Ecuador fail to win on Chilean soil. If El Tricolor were to emerge victorious in Santiago and La Celeste shared the points against Argentina, Oscar Tabarez's charges would be out definitively.

Ecuador (23 pts; -3): A win over Chile would guarantee Sixto Vizuete's team at least a play-off spot. A five-goal thrashing of La Roja, coupled with a draw between Uruguay and Argentina, would propel them stunningly into fourth place. The final and even more unlikely option would be picking up a draw in Chile and hoping Argentina beat Uruguay by a whopping 13-goal margin, which would ensure El Tricolor finished fifth.

Venezuela (21 pts; -6): La Vinotinto would need nothing short of a miracle to lay claim to a play-off berth. With a goal difference 15 worse than Uruguay's, Venezuela would have to hope the latter are crushed by Argentina in Montevideo as well as thrashing Brazil on their own turf. Even if that scenario occurred, they would still miss out if Ecuador picked up a point in Chile.

Play-off format
The fifth-placed finisher in the South American Zone will face the fourth-placed counterpart from the North, Central America and Caribbean Zone in a two-legged play-off for South Africa 2010. As things stand at the present, the tie would be between Uruguay and Honduras.

Have your say
In your opinion, who do you think will clinch the final direct spot and who will face a nail-biting play-off? To get your views on the final round of matches heard by other users, simply click on 'Add your comment'.