South American World Cup Qualifiers Preview

Goal.com provides readers with a preview of round twelve of the 2010 South American World Cup qualifiers. With only four automatic World Cup slots up for grabs the results of this round are likely to have a huge bearing on the final outcome…
Full Previews to be provided for the following two matches:

Uruguay - Brazil and Argentina - Colombia

Bolivia - Venezuela

Date:
06-06-09

City: La Paz

After their historic 6-1 demolition of Argentina in April, Bolivia will be hoping to claim another three points against Venezuela that will keep them in with an outside chance of finishing in fifth place. Bolivia trail Venezuela by one point and the desperation of both teams means the match will be highly contested. Bolivia boss Erwin Sanchez has yet to announce his starting XI, because he has a number of players in doubt for the match.

But the biggest loss is that of star striker Joaquin Botero, who announced his international retirement after starring in the victory over Argentina. This means Sanchez has yet to decide who will partner new Werder Bremen signing Marcelo Martins Moreno in the attack. It will either be Diego Cabrera of Independiente Medellin or Pablo Escobar of Santo Andre.

Venezuela picked up a crucial 2-0 win over Colombia in their last qualifier, and La Vinotinto will be looking for another victory against Bolivia. They have struggled a great deal when playing away from home throughout their campaign and will need to be very solid in defence at all moments. Venezuela are the only South American team never to have qualified for the World Cup and a loss here could mean they will have to wait another four years to do so. The high-altitude factor at the Hernando Siles stadium will surely trouble the visitors.

When the teams met in San Cristobal in the first round of the qualifiers Venezuela recorded a 5-3 win. This encounter also promises many goals.

Goal.com Prediction:
Bolivia 3-1 Venezuela

Paraguay - Chile


Date: 06-06-09

City: Asuncion

Paraguay currently lead the South American group and have practically assured themselves of a place in South Africa, but they will be hoping to make sure of this with a victory over high flying Chile.

The Paraguayans have proved to be the most consistent team of the continent, but they have not always had it their way. After losing 2-0 to Uruguay in Montevideo, they needed a last-gasp strike to rescue a point against Ecuador in Quito. But Los Guaranies are expected to return to winning ways at home to Chile.

Chile will be desperate for the three points, because if they claim a positive result it would steer them closer towards their first World Cup since 1998. Marcelo Bielsa counts with an extremely confident bunch of players, and although they were recently thrashed 4-0 by Japan in the Kirin Cup, they fielded a second-rate team.

With all of their stars back, except for maybe Humberto Suazo who is nursing an ankle injury, Chile will be hoping to upset Paraguay at the Defensores del Chaco stadium. If Chile return home with a positive result they will come into their next match against Bolivia with high morale. This could be essential for their World Cup chances.

It is likely to be a very highly contested encounter, particularly because the Chileans will be after sweet revenge, after being thrashed 3-0 by Paraguay at home in Santiago in the first round.

Goal.com Prediction: Paraguay 2-1 Chile

Peru - Ecuador

Date:
07-06-09

City:
Lima

Ecuador know that anything less than the three points against Peru will severely dent their World Cup chances. The Ecuadorians have qualified for the last two World Cups, and come into this clash as the overwhelming favourites, particularly because Peru have experienced such a disastrous campaign.

Peru, with only one victory from twelve matches, have been by far the worst team of the competition, and on current form it seems that Ecuador are much too strong for them. Not only are Ecuador very solid in defence but they are also very versatile when moving forward, and they tend to take advantage of vulnerable teams like Peru. Ecuador have impressed when playing away from home, and they will be motivated to win their first match after three negative results.

The good news for Peru however, is that Hamburg striker Paulo Guerrero returns to the side after completing a six-match suspension after verbally abusing a referee. Peru will also look to the inspiration of Fiorentina midfielder Juan Vargas.

Back in 2007 Ecuador hammered Peru 5-1, and unless Peru pick up their game they could experience another crushing defeat.

Goal.com Prediction: Peru 2-2 Ecuador

Gregory Sica, Goal.com