South American World Cup Qualifiers Reach Crunch Stage

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South American World Cup qualifying is always exceptionally exciting and although Brazil have qualified, there is still plenty for the other teams to play for.

Tite has led Brazil to the World Cup

The battle to qualify for next year’s World Cup is reaching a crunch stage across the globe, including in South America, where only four automatic qualification spots are up for grabs.

It is just over a year until the 2022 World Cup gets underway in Qatar, but for many, that will still feel like a lifetime away, with countless twists and turns set to come before South American qualifying reaches a conclusion next March.

Dominant Brazil Qualify With Time to Spare

One team that does not have any qualification worries are Brazil, as they have emphatically preserved their record of reaching every World Cup finals, sealing their passage through to Qatar with five games to spare following Thursday night’s 1-0 victory over Colombia.

Tite’s side have been in imperious form throughout qualifying, as they are unbeaten in their 12 matches, 11 of which have ended in victory, while they have scored the most goals (27) during the campaign and conceded the fewest (four).

The Selecao have certainly underlined their credentials of ending their 20-year wait to win a sixth World Cup and they are priced at 6/1 to lift the trophy in 2022.

Argentina on Course to Join Rivals in Qatar

Argentina appear well placed to join Brazil at the finals, with Lionel Scaloni’s side sitting second in the standings, five points clear of the chasing pack. They can take a giant step towards qualification if they win in Uruguay on Friday night.

La Albiceleste are unbeaten in their last six encounters with Uruguay and they are priced at 11/10 to take the spoils in Montevideo, while the hosts, in need of the points to boost their own qualification hopes, are available at 29/10 and the draw is on offer at 11/5.

Lionel Messi is expected to feature for Argentina on Friday, with Scaloni declaring the Paris Saint-Germain star fit, even though he has missed his club’s previous two matches.

The 34-year-old has contributed six goals during the qualification campaign and can be backed at 6/4 to be an anytime scorer against Uruguay.

Tight Battle for Remaining Qualification Places

Brazil and Argentina have enjoyed rather serene progress during qualifying, but the battle for the two remaining automatic spots in Qatar, as well as the inter-confederation playoff place, looks set to go down to the wire.

Ecuador currently sit third in the standings and Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Venezuela has seen them open up a four-point gap on the three teams directly below them – Chile, Colombia and Uruguay – who are all locked together on 16 points, although the latter does have that game in hand against Argentina.

Peru are just two points further back following their resounding 3-0 victory over Bolivia on Thursday, who also cannot be discounted on 12 points, the same tally as Paraguay.

Bolivia also boast the leading scorer in South American qualifying, with captain Marcelo Moreno having struck eight times.

All that suggests there should be some intriguing battles to come over the remaining matchdays, with Tuesday’s fixture list proving a prime example, as Bolivia are set to host Uruguay, while Colombia will entertain Paraguay and Ecuador travel to Chile.

There will also be the small matter of Argentina vs Brazil on Tuesday in San Juan – a match the hosts are priced at 31/20 to win, while the already-qualified visitors are available at 21/10 and the draw can be backed at 21/10.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

A fountain of knowledge on football, Tom offers a particular in-depth expertise in EFL and European leagues.

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