Just four days after taking over at the top of the table in the South American qualifying competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, Argentina will have their leadership qualities put to the test when they visit Peru.
Meanwhile, Chile, who sat out the last round of games, entertain Colombia with the objective of recovering the lead they lost to the Argentinians last week, and Uruguay play host to Ecuador, hoping to get right back on track after suffering their first defeat of the qualifiers in Barranquilla.
FIFA.com looks ahead to those games and Venezuela’s trip to Paraguay as South America’s finest continue their race for places at Brazil 2014.
The big game
Tuesday 11 September, Santiago, 16:30 (local time)
Along with Argentina, Colombia were the big winners on Matchday 7 of the qualifying competition, putting paid to Uruguay’s unbeaten record with a commanding 4-0 win in Jose Pekerman’s first official match in charge, Radamel Falcao leading the way with the opener as the Colombians moved back into contention.
After scuttling La Celeste’s hopes of moving to the top of the group, Los Cafeteros will now set out to deny Chile achieving the same goal. Having sat out last Friday’s games, La Roja lie a point behind the Argentinians and need to win to keep the pressure on.
Pacesetters Argentina travel to Lima to take on a Peru side buoyed by their defeat of Venezuela last week, which ended a run of four straight losses and moved them off the bottom of the table. Alejandro Sabella’s side have been somewhat inconsistent in their two games away from home so far, losing to Venezuela and coming from behind to beat Colombia.
Still licking their wounds following their loss in Colombia, Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay return to Montevideo to take on Ecuador, who jumped ahead of them into third place thanks to the returning Felipe Caicedo’s spot-kick winner against Bolivia. La Celeste will be grateful to have Luis Suarez back in action following his suspension.
In the day’s other game, bottom-placed Paraguay play host to Venezuela in Asuncion with the alarm bells ringing. With only four points to their name after six games, Gerardo Pelusso’s charges urgently need a victory to revive their flagging fortunes, while La Vinotinto have needs of their own after their slip-up in Peru.
Player to watch
Jefferson Farfan (Peru)
The Schalke striker rose to the occasion against Venezuela, scoring twice in Peru’s comeback win to become his country’s leading marksman in FIFA World Cup qualifiers with ten goals. Farfan’s knack of popping up in the right place at the right time could be invaluable during their match with Argentina.
Did you know?
The stats may be against Paraguay at this stage of the competition, but the fact remains that they are still unbeaten at home, having seen off Ecuador 2-1 and drawn 1-1 with Uruguay at their Defensores del Chaco stronghold. La Albirroja’s problems lie away from home, where they have lost four out of four.
What they said
“It’s a very important game for us. Obviously when we played Argentina we weren’t thinking about losing. We wanted to do well and get the points, but of the two games, it’s the one against Venezuela that’s the more important and which we have to win. They’re direct rivals for a qualification place, and if we can get three points against them, it will really give us a lift,” Paraguay coach Gerardo Pelusso assesses their home game with Venezuela.