It’s been a long journey in the race to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Russia next summer. Every continent has featured different qualifiers just to select worthy candidates which can represent them well on the biggest stage in world football.
Among those continents is the South American continent, home to several football legends and some of the greatest that ever graced the game. Another “great” to come out of the continent this year is the news that the world may just experience a World Cup without Lionel Messi and Argentina.
A journey that started two years ago is about to end on an unforgettable note. All eyes are on the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers and here’s why:
There are 5 Teams Vying for the Remaining 3 Automatic Qualification Slots
The way qualification in this part of the world works is this: All ten teams play against each team in a qualification system that is run like a football league. The 4 teams that finish top of the table will automatically qualify for the World Cup tournament.
If a team finishes fifth, all hope is not lost. The 5th spot is also called the “Intercontinental Play-off Spot” where they will face another country from another continent. That’s how things work.
As things currently stand, Brazil has already qualified for the tournament. This means there are 3 automatic spots left. Going into the last round of games, Uruguay (28 points), Chile (26 points), Colombia (26 points), Peru (25 points) and Argentina (25 points) are all still in contention to finish in an automatic qualification spot on the table.
Sounds tight, right?
Goals Difference and Head-to-Head May Rear Their Heads
Depending on which team it will favor and which team it will be against, these two factors: “goals difference” and “head-to-head” records may be used to select which team will automatically qualify for Russia next year.
To put things into perspective for you, Uruguay has a goals difference of +10 while Chile and Colombia both have +2. Peru and Argentina both have +1.With games like Peru vs. Colombia and Brazil vs. Chile set to be played in the last round of fixtures, there may just be major upsets after the last round of games is played.
Anything less than a win for the Argentines is as good as waving goodbye to the qualification ticket for Russia 2018. This means the Ecuador vs. Argentina game is a must win for Messi and co.
A Peru win over Colombia will most likely mean that Peru will be representing South America in Russia while the likes of James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao will watch the tournament from the comfort of either their home or their vacation spot.
The best thing for the Chileans when they take on Brazil is a win. Anything other than this and they may see their World Cup dreams blow up in tatters.
The next – and final – round of fixtures will be played this coming week. They are as follows:
What do you think? Which teams will qualify automatically and which ones do you think will only manage an inter-continental play-off place? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.
Cheers to an awesome weekend!Tags: CONMEBOL