Setting the scene for the resumption of the South American qualifying competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, FIFA.com reveals 12 key stats from the first four matchdays.
– The number of unbeaten teams left in the qualifying competition. That side is Uruguay, who have played three games to date, winning two of them and drawing the other, and have had one matchday off. Oscar Tabarez’s men have now gone 15 games without defeat, their last reverse coming on 29 May 2011, when they went down 2-1 to Germany in a friendly in Sinsheim.
– The number of yellow cards Venezuela’s experienced defender Jose Manuel Rey picked up in his country’s loss to Ecuador on Matchday 1, equating to the only red card shown in the CONMEBOL qualifiers to date.
– The number of draws in the 16 games played, all three of them ending 1-1. Those 16 matches have produced 11 home wins and only two away victories, namely for Colombia, who downed Bolivia 2-1 in La Paz, and Argentina, who beat the Colombians by the same scoreline in Barranquilla.
– The number of direct qualification slots available in the South American Zone for Brazil 2014. As it stands, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela and Ecuador would be the four teams going through, while Chile, who lie fifth, would go forward to a play-off against the winner of Round 5 in the Asian competition.
– The number of goals Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez has to his name, making him the leading scorer in the competition. The Liverpool man struck all his side’s goals in the 4-0 demolition of Chile last November, becoming the first Uruguay player to achieve the feat in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match.
– The number of goals registered in the two highest-scoring matches so far – respective 4-2 wins for Uruguay and Chile over Bolivia and Peru. Not one of the 16 matches played to date has ended goalless.
– The number of goals Chile have chalked up and the number of players who have scored them - more than any other side in the competition. Matias Campos, Pablo Contreras, Matias Fernandez, Eduardo Vargas, Gary Medel, Humberto Suazo and Waldo Ponce have been the men on target for La Roja.
– The number of coaches who have held on to their jobs since the qualifying competition got underway. The only casualty is Leonel Alvarez, who was relieved of his duties as Colombia boss following that home defeat to Argentina last November. The Cafetero post is currently held by former Albiceleste coach Jose Nestor Pekerman.
– The number of teams taking part in the South American competition, the first time this has been the case since the qualifiers for France 1998, from which Brazil were also exempt, courtesy of having won their fourth world title at USA 1994. The four qualifiers on that occasion were Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia and Chile.
– The number of players who have played every minute of their teams’ four matches to date. The ten are: Lionel Messi (Argentina); Ronald Rivero and Jaime Robles (Bolivia); Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla and Waldo Ponce (Chile); Diego Barreto, Cristian Riveros and Dario Veron (Paraguay); and Renny Vega (Venezuela). Similarly, the following have played every minute of their sides’ three matches so far: Pablo Armero and David Ospina (Colombia); Jaimen Ayovi, Walter Ayovi, Maximo Banguera and Antonio Valencia (Ecuador); Raul Fernandez and Juan Vargas (Peru); and Egidio Arevalo, Martin Caceres, Diego Godin, Diego Lugano and Fernando Muslera (Uruguay).
– The number of games Paraguay had gone without a win prior to beating Ecuador 2-1 on Matchday 3. La Albirroja’s previous victory was a 2-0 defeat of Slovakia in their second group match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. During the course of their winless run, the Paraguayans nevertheless managed to reach the quarter-finals of that competition and the final of the 2011 Copa America.
– The number of years that have gone by since Venezuela last lost to Uruguay, their opponents when the qualifiers resume this weekend. La Celeste’s last success in the fixture was a 3-1 victory in Montevideo in July 2000, with La Vinotinto winning two and drawing three of their subsequent five meetings.