CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying preview

Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images

Chile’s new life is the one of the major storylines of the latest round of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.

A FIFA ruling that Bolivia used an ineligible player turned Chile’s shocking upset into a 3-0 win, and now La Roja has gone from surprising World Cup outlier to one point from third in the table.

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The next week brings us Matchday 11 and 12, with Thursday the first batch of matches. Chile has a tricky match at Colombia, one point ahead of them in the standings, which are as such:

  1. Brazil — 21 points, +14 GD
  2. Uruguay — 20 points, +14 GD
  3. Ecuador — 17 points, +4 GD
  4. Colombia — 17 points, +3 GD
  5. Chile — 16 points, +2 GD
  6. Argentina — 16 points, +2 GD
  7. Paraguay — 15 points, -2 GD
  8. Peru — 11 points, -3 GD
  9. Bolivia — 4 points, -17 GD
  10. Venezuela — 2 points, -17 GD

These next two match days boast the possibility of a real shake-up in the qualifying odds. Matchday 11 is a stunner, with the top six teams facing off against each other.

Aside from Chile’s trip to Colombia, No. 3 Ecuador is off to No. 2 Uruguay, and No. 1 Brazil hosts desperate No. 6 Argentina (with Lionel Messi back for La Albiceleste).

We know you can do math, but just consider how much things can either tighten or expand on Thursday. Wins from hosts Brazil, Uruguay, and Colombia would give the first two sides advantages of 7 and 8 points from the interfederation playoff spot.

Similar desperation is on both sides of the pitch in Asuncion, where Paraguay can effectively end Peru’s slim chances of making Russia 2018. On the flip side, a Peru would could leave the hosts as far as four points from an automatic slot.

Take the first scenario we presented and flip it with a trio of road wins. If Argentina, Ecuador, and Chile win, the table would have first place Brazil with 21 points, either Argentina or Chile in fifth with 19 points, and Colombia in sixth with 17. Five teams within five points.

Here’s the slate.

Thursday (all times EDT)
Colombia vs. Chile — 3:30 p.m.
Uruguay vs Ecuador — 6 p.m.
Paraguay vs. Peru — 6:30 p.m.
Venezuela vs. Bolivia — 6:30 p.m.
Brazil vs. Argentina — 6:45 p.m.

Tuesday (all times EDT)
Bolivia vs. Paraguay — 3 p.m.
Ecuador vs. Venezuela — 4 p.m.
Chile vs. Uruguay — 6:30 p.m.
Argentina vs. Colombia — 6:30 p.m.
Peru vs. Brazil — 8:15 p.m.