Examination time for leaders
The leaders in Brazil, the USA, Japan and Angola have little breathing space and will undergo strict examinations of their title credentials this weekend. The same can not be said of the frontrunners in Cameroon, who are on the brink of securing the crown. With the battle to top Group B and reach the title decider in Colombia poised for an electrifying finish, FIFA.com anticipates the forthcoming action.
Brasileirão: Stern challenges for top three
Flamengo, Gremio and Cruzeiro will take an unmatched 16 points into Round 8, but all three must pass stern challenges to improve their tallies. O Mengão will visit Sport, who are high on confidence following their recent Copa do Brasil conquest and unbeaten in all of their 20 home games in 2008.
Runners-up Gremio will host their struggling yet talented arch-rivals Internacional, while third-placed Cruzeiro will welcome holders Sao Paulo, in sixth, to the Mineirao. Elsewhere, surprise package Nautico will travel to Palmeiras, one place below them in fifth.
Big game: Atletico Paranaense and Coritiba, 11th
and ninth respectively, will resume their bitter rivalry at the
Arena da Baixada.
Players to watch: Second-bottom Santos will be desperate for their veteran marksman Kleber Pereira to return to form and save them from a fifth game without victory at the Caninde, while 21-year-old sensation Diogo will be key to Portuguesa's chances of a fourth straight win.
Colombian Copa Mustang: Quartet in fight for final
Who will join America in the final? That is the big question ahead of Saturday's conclusion to the second phase. And with Boyaca Chico on seven points, Independiente Medellin and Deportes Quindio tied on six, and Deportivo Cali on five, all four Group B sides are still in the hunt.
Victory at home to Cali would send the leaders into the decider, but anything less would end their title dream if the Medellin-Quindio match produces a winner. For their part, Los Verdiblancos need to beat Chico and hope the section's other game finishes all square.
Big game: With a draw no good to either side,
Independiente Medellin and Deportes Quindio will be going all out
for three points when they meet Estadio Atanasio Girardot.
Players to watch: The goals of Miguel Caneo have propelled Chico on to the cusp of the final, but in Oscar Cordoba he will up against one of the finest goalkeepers in Colombian history.
American Major League Soccer: Tough tests await section
David Beckham cannot stop assisting, Edson Buddle cannot stop scoring, and Landon Donovan cannot stop doing both - it is no wonder Los Angeles Galaxy head the Western Conference. Ruud Gullit's in-form side will nonetheless do well to emerge triumphant from a trip to DC United, who have taken 13 points from their last five outings, Luciano Emilio's seven goals in the process thrusting them into Eastern Conference contention.
If the Galaxy fall to defeat in the capital, then victory at struggling Kansas City Wizards would send Real Salt Lake top of their section.
Big game: First and third in the Eastern
Conference will collide when New England Revolution entertain
Players to watch: Chicago Fire will look to Cuauhtemoc Blanco as they bid to arrest a run of three successive losses at home to San Jose Earthquakes, who will hope former Manchester United youth John Cunliffe can resuscitate their slim hopes of reaching the play-offs.
Japanese J.League: Pressure on front pair
Urawa Red Diamonds and Nagoya Grampus Eight may sit three points clear of the chasing pack, but their grip on the top of the ladder is by no means comfortable. Matchday 14 takes the reigning Asian champions to Kashiwa Reysol, who would move three points behind their opponents with victory, while Grampus entertain J.League holders Kashima Antlers, four points back in fourth.
Yasuhito Endo has scored winning goals in successive matches to elevate Gamba Osaka to fifth. Can he make Consadole Sapporo his latest victim?
Big game: With Yokohama Marinos in mid-table and
Jubilo Iwata third-bottom, this duel of the giants promises to be
an intriguing affair.
Players to watch: Denis Marques will be key to Omiya Ardija's chances of success, but his team-mates must find a way to stop another Brazilian striker: Tokyo Verdy's Hulk.
Cameroonian Elite One: Cotonsport monopoly set to continue
Cotonsport Garoua are on the verge of extending their record of five straight Cameroonian titles. Victory at Caiman de Douala would earn Denis Lavagne's side this distinction ahead of the penultimate round, and leave them just one crown short of ten-time champions Canon de Yaounde.
Canon, seven points off the pace, will look to consolidate second spot when they visit Sabel de Batie. The three-time African champions defeated International Lion Ngoma on Thursday, exactly five years after their former star Marc-Vivien Foe passed away, to move six points clear of third-placed Fovu, who are poised to host Unisport Bafang.
Big game: Aigle Royal occupy the last place
outside the relegation zone, and they will be determined to retain
control of their own destiny by beating fifth-placed Union Douala
Player to watch: Niger international Daouda Kamilou has thrilled in the green of Cotonsport this term. Orchestrating a title-clinching win on Sunday would cap a memorable season for the 20-year-old forward.
The first half of the Angolan Girabola will draw to a close this weekend, and it is the competition's two most successful clubs that lead the way. Petro Atletico hold a four-point cushion at the summit, but their cross-city enemies Benfica Luanda will put them on trial on Sunday, while runners-up Primeiro de Agosto will visit lowly Petro Huambo. Fourth-placed Recreativo Libolo will expect success at home to tailenders Benfica Lubango, who simply need new coach Alberto Cardeau to impose his will on the side swiftly if they are to escape relegation.