The 15th matchday of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying in the South American Zone is nothing short of unmissable, with top billing going to a continental classic between Argentina and Brazil that could seal the latter's berth at next year's finals. Chile, for their part, can put one foot in South Africa with a home win over Venezuela, while the Colombia-Ecuador encounter could go some way to deciding who comes home in fifth spot. FIFA.com brings you a preview of all the weekend's action.
The big game
Saturday 5 September, 21:30 (local time) - Rosario
The continent's two biggest rivals are preparing to square off in a crunch qualifier. A win for Diego Maradona's charges in Rosario would boost their chances of reaching South Africa no end, though a defeat would really pile the pressure on ahead of 9 September's tough trip to Paraguay. In the opposing camp, Dunga's boys go into the game in excellent form and know that a win, combined with defeats for Ecuador and Uruguay, would guarantee their involvement at next year's showpiece.
Both previous FIFA World Cup preliminaries between the heavyweights on Argentinian soil ended in victory for La Albiceleste. Will history repeat itself or will it be third time lucky for A Seleção?
Currently on a five-game unbeaten run, Marcelo Bielsa's highly promising Chile side are entitled to feel confident going into their match with Venezuela in Santiago. La Roja have been attracting rave reviews of late thanks to their enterprising style, which could take them right to the top of the table if Brazil trip up in Rosario. The Chileans have won three of their four meetings with La Vinotinto on home soil, the other ending in a 2-0 defeat in 2001. The Venezuelans will be looking to Juan Arango, one of their goalscorers that day, to fire their hopes of climbing up to fifth place and the play-off spot.
Colombia and Ecuador face off in Medellin with three crucial points at stake. Eduardo Lara's Cafeteros need to show more bite up front if they are to pull level in the table with La Tricolor, who lie fifth on 20 points. The Ecuadorians have not won a FIFA World Cup qualifier on Colombian soil since 1965 but have gone four games without defeat and have their sights set on collecting a win that could take them above Argentina and into an automatic qualification berth.
Sixth-placed Uruguay are another side anxious to join the fray, which makes victory on their trip to Peru all the more imperative. La Celeste are two points behind Ecuador and will be hoping to extend their fine record in Peru and for Sixto Vizuete's men to fluff their lines in Colombia. The Uruguayans have lost only once on their last six visits to Lima, and with the hosts bottom of the section and long since out of the running, their chances of enhancing that record further look good.
In the weekend's other game, Paraguay play host to Bolivia in Asuncion. Having tailed off after a strong start to the campaign, Gerardo Martino's charges need a win to consolidate their third place. The visitors, who stand ninth with only 12 points, have nothing but pride to play for.
Players to watch
Lionel Messi (ARG) and Kaka (BRA)
Fellow contenders at the last FIFA World Player Gala, the massively talented duo cross swords again in the latest instalment of South America's biggest derby, the outcome of which will depend to a large extent on their eagerly awaited duel.
16 - The number of years to the day on Saturday since Colombia dished out their legendary 5-0 defeat of Argentina in Buenos Aires, which remains La Albiceleste's only home qualifying defeat. Can Brazil condemn the Argentinians to another black 5 September?
What they said
"There are no easy games and even less so against Venezuela. When you look at their record they've come on a lot and are much more competitive now. Most of their players have a creative streak and that makes them a team to watch out for," Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa praises his side's next opponents.
This weekend's fixtures
Saturday 5 September
Make sure you log on to FIFA.com and follow all the weekend's South American qualifying matches live on EMIRATES MatchCast.