World Cup qualifiers in South America this midweek witnessed Brasil’s narrow win at their home turf seal one spot in Qatar 2022 whereas Uruguay is in danger of missing it after losing out 0-1 at home.
Selecao welcomed Colombia, the only team which could hold them in a draw in this qualifying round so far, in Sao Paulo. Neymar and Co were not exactly in form as the visiting side had more opportunity to open the scoring. However, Tite’s men came out as a winner in the end as Lucas Paqueta found the back of the net. Vinicius Jr who was eventually called up after being snubbed initially had a chance to double their lead but he failed to capitalise it.
Meanwhile, in Montevidio, the two-time world cup winner Uruguay is in danger of missing out the tournament for the first time since 2006. They suffered a 1-0 loss to their neighbour rival Argentina despite taking charge of the game and created more decent chances in the six yard box. Angel Di Maria bagged an opener early on the seventh minute through his strike into the far post. Yet, the man of the match was actually Argentina’s goalie Emiliano Martinez. He managed to block and deny several chances while some other strikes from the home side flew wide. Aston Villa man’s composure at the goal mouth was the key form of Albiceleste’s victory which brings them closer to secure one berth next week.
Uruguay vs Argentina 0-1
Goals: Angel Di Maria (7)
Uruguay: Fernando Muslera – Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, Martin Caceres, Piquerez – Lucas Torreira, Mathias Vecino (Alvarez Martinez 64), Rodriguez (Torres 45), Nanitan Nandez (Gorriaran 81), Rodrigo Bentacur (Arambari 76) – Luis Suarez
Argentina: Emiliano Martinez – Nehuen Molina, Marcus Acuna, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi – Rodriguez, Angel Di Maria (Angel Correa 55), Giovani Lo Celso (Leo Messi 76), Paulo Dybala (Joaquin Correa 45), Rodrigo de Paul (Exequiel Palacios 81) – Lautaro Martinez (Papu Gomez 55)
The defeat at home means that Oscar Tabarez’s side is sloping to the sixth on the table with four points adrift from Ecuador on the fourth, below the lowest position for the international play off. They will be battling against not only one or two teams above them but the other six teams in the standings for two and a half remaining berth to play in World Cup 2022 final round. By crossing out Brasil and Argentina on the top two plus Venezuela at the bottom, there are still Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia which could take over Luis Suarez and Co’s chance to qualify once they slip again.
The last five fixtures will be decisive ones for Uruguay and their six contenders. The most challenging games would be the next one to take on Bolivia in La Paz, the January fixture while travelling to Paraguay and another tough away game against Chile. For them and their rivals, a draw means wasting their opportunity and another loss could mean a farewell to the World Cup. Here are the key remaining matches in CONMEBOL qualifiers:
Nov 16, 2021 – Bolivia vs Uruguay; Venezuela vs Peru ; Colombia vs Paraguay ; Chile vs Ecuador
Jan 27, 2022 - Colombia vs Peru ; Venezuela vs Bolivia ; Paraguay vs Uruguay ; Chile vs Argentina ; Ecuador vs Brasil
Feb 1, 2022 – Peru vs Ecuador ; Uruguay vs Venezuela ; Bolivia vs Chile ; Brasil vs Paraguay ; Argentina vs Paraguay
March 24, 2022 – Uruguay vs Peru ; Colombia vs Bolivia ; Brasil vs Chile ; Paraguay vs Ecuador
March 29, 2022 – Venezuela vs Colombia ; Bolivia vs Brasil ; Chile vs Uruguay ; Peru vs Paraguay ; Ecuador vs Argentina