Cesar Farias' men were the surprise package of CONMEBOL for a while, but their form has dropped and them reaching Brazil will be a shock.Venezuela heads into its final World Cup qualifying match with Paraguay needing a huge goal-difference swing to save its campaign.
Cesar Farias' side sits in sixth place in the CONMEBOL table, three points adrift of Uruguay and Ecuador, who both have a game in hand. It means Venezuela's only chance of reaching Brazil in 2014 is to thrash Paraguay on its home ground in San Cristobal and hope either Uruguay or Ecuador loses both of its games.
Even if that scenario occurs, Venezuela would have to overcome a six-goal swing with Uruguay, while the gap to Ecuador is 10.
A 3-2 victory over Peru in September ensured Venezuela kept its faint hopes of securing fifth place and an intercontinental playoff with Jordan alive. For Paraguay, the fixture offers little more than an opportunity to heave themselves off the foot of the table.
Victor Genes' charges have endured a disappointing campaign yielding just three victories and are currently behind fellow strugglers Bolivia on goal difference.
Genes can be exonerated of blame for the most part, as he only took the reins in July after Paraguay parted company with former incumbent Gerardo Pelusso. Paraguay's last two qualifiers in September produced Jekyll and Hyde performances, a 4-0 home success over Bolivia swiftly followed by a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of Argentina.
Malaga striker Roque Santa Cruz will be expected to provide his country's chief attacking threat and has three goals in qualifying thus far.