World Cup qualification in South America could not be closer even if it tried.
Going into the final round of matches on Tuesday night, the fates of six teams hang in the balance – including Argentina, Chile and Colombia.
Just the four points separate Uruguay in second place, who are guaranteed to at least make the intercontinental play-off, and Paraguay in seventh place, with all the teams in between still fighting to make it to Russia.
Chile travel to Brazil looking to replicate the 2-0 win in Santiago and inflict the five-time world champions’ second defeat of the campaign, whilst also securing their own place in at the World Cup next year. Alexis Sanchez and Co. can be backed at 15/4 (4.75) to claim victory there, whilst Brazil are 8/11 (1.73) to win.
A 0-0 draw at long-eliminated Venezuela last week ensured Uruguay will at least be in a two-legged play-off against New Zealand, however if Oscar Tabarez’s side avoid defeat at home to Bolivia then they will qualify automatically; they are huge 1/9 (1.11) favourites to come out on top, or 8/1 (9.0) to be held to a draw.
There is a very real danger that Lionel Messi will miss out on the World Cup next summer unless Argentina improve. La Albiceleste have won just six of their 17 matches this campaign and need a win at Ecuador – who cannot qualify for the finals – to finish fifth at worst and make the intercontinental playoff; anything worse than three points could see Messi’s World Cup dream be put on hold until 2022, but his side are massive 4/9 (1.44) favourites to win.
Also available to watch and bet on is the crunch clash between fifth-placed Peru hosting fourth-placed Colombia - with the winner assured of a place in Russia. A draw would mean the visitors would finish either fourth or fifth, assuming Paraguay do not beat Venzuela by seven clear goals, with the hosts likely to miss out altogether if they do not win. Peru are 7/5 (2.40) to come out ont top, whilst Colombia are 15/8 (2.88) and the draw is priced at 23/10 (3.30).
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