This weekend the south american qualifiers for the World Cup Germany 2006 are going to be pretty much defined. Argentina (31 points) and Brasil (30) are already qualified. Ecuador (26) and Paraguay (25) are almost there.
And then the real battle is between Uruguay (21 points, -6 goal difference), Colombia (20 p, +7 gd) and Chile (20p, -4 gd).
The good thing is that Colombia is playing Chile this saturday in Barranquilla at 4:00 pm. The last 2 games that Colombia has played locally have been awesome (3-0 Ecuador and 5-0 Peru). Both teams are direct rivals and if there is a loosing team in this match, it can say ‘bye’ to the World Cup. A tie will be terrible for both teams. The chileans have been training all this week in Barranquilla and they have been complaining a lot about the heat (around 35oC).
At the same time Ecuador and Uruguay will be playing in Quito. Ecuador will be motivated to win and ensure its qualification. Besides they are the local team and the coach is the colombian Luis Fernando Suarez, so I believe that Ecuador will play hard to win the game. But Uruguay is also motivated to win and they will play very hard too. This game is going to be very exciting as well.
And then on Wednesday, the last matches for the qualifiers will be played.
The games that matter will be:
Paraguay vs Colombia
Chile vs Ecuador
Uruguay vs Argentina
I’m sure that Ecuador and Paraguay will be already qualified for the last game (and of course Argentina) so I’m assuming that none of those three teams will be playing very hard. This situation has me very worried: four years ago, the calendar for the qualifiers was exactly like this one. And the team’s situation was almost the same: Argentina, Brasil, Ecuador and Paraguay already qualified with Uruguay and Colombia fighting for the 5th position to play against Australia.
To qualify Colombia had to beat Paraguay 5-0 and hope for Uruguay to loose. Everyone thought impossible for Colombia to achieve that result but people agreed that Argentina could easily beat Uruguay since they had a very strong team. Magically Colombia did managed to beat Paraguay 4-0. I do believe that the result sounds very weird. I didn’t watched this game, so I cannot give you my opinion. But I never heard anyone implying that Colombia bought that game, or that Paraguay let us win. Conmebol even had european referees for these two matches to ensure fair play. The ugly part is that the Argentineans found out about the score in Paraguay and decided that they liked their ‘brothers’ from ‘El Rio de la Plata’ better than the Colombians, and they didn’t played hard against the Uruguayans. At the end that game finished 1-1 and Uruguay got to play Australia. Also this game was delayed about 10 minutes, so it gave a small advantage to the Uruguayans. The Argentineans during press releases admitted that they didn’t played hard against Uruguay to let them qualify…
I definitely don’t want to go through this situation again. I hope that Colombia beats Chile and Ecuador beats Uruguay and then in the last game, everyone should tie to keep things fair.