Matchday 2 of the South American qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ gets underway this Tuesday with two fixtures taking centre stage: Colombia’s opening game against Bolivia, and the latest edition of the Pacific derby between Chile and Peru. As ever, FIFA.com is on hand to preview all the action.
The big game
Chile-Peru, 11 October, Estadio Nacional, Santiago, 19:45 (local time)
Chile and Peru reignite their age-old rivalry this week with neither side lacking in motivation. La Roja, still smarting from their 4-1 reverse in Argentina on Friday, will be desperate to get their first points on the board, and welcome back influential defensive midfielder Gary Medel from suspension. In contrast, Sergio Markarian’s Peru will be hoping to build on their impressive opening-day win over Paraguay by securing their first victory on Chilean soil in this competition. The arch-rivals met as recently as 12 July, when an Andre Carrillo own-goal gave Chile a 1-0 group-stage victory at the Copa America.
All eyes will be on Colombia as they belatedly get their campaign underway in the Bolivian capital La Paz, where they have yet to win a qualifying fixture. Keen to put that right will be Leonel Alvarez, who will be making his competitive debut as Cafetero coach. The visitors will be encouraged by Uruguay’s 4-2 defeat of their opponents last weekend but will not need reminding that in their last home qualifying fixture, back in October 2009, their hosts beat a full-strength Brazil.
For their part, Uruguay face a difficult assignment in Asuncion, where Francisco Arce’s chastened Paraguay will be hoping to bounce back from their opening defeat in Peru. While history is on La Albirroja’s side with victories in all five of their previous home qualifying games against La Celeste, they will need to be at their best to prevail against an Uruguay team that has not tasted defeat since a 3-2 loss to Germany in the third-place match at South Africa 2010.
Last but not least, Venezuela look set to ring the changes as they go in search of their first ever win over Argentina. Coach Cesar Farias has indicated the team will be vastly different to the one beaten by Ecuador at the weekend, with a host of established players set to return. Meanwhile, his counterpart Alejandro Sabella welcomes back Javier Mascherano from suspension and has confirmed he will again start with Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi up front.
Player to watch
Teofilo Gutierrez (COL)
To the surprise of many, the Racing Club goal-getter will be Colombia’s lone striker in La Paz, relegating no less a figure than Radamel Falcao to the bench. The 26-year-old, scorer of three goals in the recent friendlies against Honduras and Jamaica, has played three qualifying fixtures to date, with two wins, one defeat, a goal and a red card to show for them.
Did you know
Argentina have beaten Venezuela in each of their 18 previous meetings, scoring 71 goals in the process and conceding just nine. Their biggest win was the 11-0 drubbing handed out on 10 August 1975 in Sante Fe.
What they said
“The Chilean media shouldn’t be focusing on just four of us [Claudio Pizarro, Paolo Guerrero, Jefferson Farfan and Juan Vargas], but rather the fantastic squad of 28 that Peru have. But if they are saying things like that, then maybe it’s because they’re afraid of us,” Peru’s Claudio Pizarro on the build-up to Tuesday’s big game.
*Not playing: Ecuador