Colombia - Chile Preview: Winner guaranteed World Cup spot

The South American giants are separated by just two points and both sides are close to reaching the tournament in Brazil next summer, though a defeat could prove costly
Colombia and Chile head into battle in Barranquilla with an automatic position at World Cup 2014 up for grabs.

The hosts, who have not qualified for the tournament since 1998, sit second in the South American qualifying group, one place and two points above their opponents.

A win for either side would guarantee a top-four berth and participation in Brazil next year, as Ecuador and Uruguay, who are both two points behind Chile, are also set to meet on Friday in the penultimate round of fixtures.

Jose Pekerman's Colombia side have already let one opportunity to qualify slip, when they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Uruguay in Montevideo in September.

Strikes from Edinson Cavani and Christian Stuani ensured that Colombia would be made to sweat on their progress. They will pin their hopes of qualification on in-form Monaco striker Radamel Falcao.

The 27-year-old is fourth on the Conmebol goalscoring charts with seven goals from 14 matches and is likely to play a crucial role together with River Plate forward Teofilo Gutierrez.

Meanwhile, after four consecutive defeats in qualifying, Chile have won their last four fixtures and put in a superb display when recording a 3-0 triumph over Venezuela in September.