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4 CONMEBOL/CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers to watch this week

Tuesday 10th October 2017
The CONMEBOL and CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers draw to a conclusion during early hours of Wednesday. Here are four games to watch, as countries from South and North America determine their representatives for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Peru vs Colombia - CONMEBOL (Wednesday, 00:30 BST)

This is probably the best definition of a do-or-die game. Currently, Colombia sit in fourth place with 26 points; Peru is fifth, one point back. Both are in qualifying position, but everything is still up for grabs. The team that wins will book a place at the World Cup. The losing nation could - potentially - gain a playoff berth, or they may suffer elimination. Their fate would depend on Argentina and Paraguay results.

But what happens if this game ends a draw? In that scenario, Colombia would go to 27 points and Peru 26. And if that happens, then a win for Argentina would automatically eliminate Peru.

However, it's unlikely either team will settle for a point in this contest. Knowing a win clinches a World Cup berth, expect two attack-minded teams clashing in Estadio Nacional in Lima, Peru.

Ecuador vs Argentina - CONMEBOL (Wednesday, 00:30 BST)

Argentina has their backs against the wall. After suffering three consecutive draws, La Albiceleste are currently out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. To change their fate, they must win against Ecuador in Quito. A venue where Argentina haven't tasted victory since 2002. And most importantly, in a city that is located at almost 3,000 meters above sea level.

Ecuador is eliminated from the World Cup race, but they remain a tough opponent. They know how to play on altitude conditions, and as they showed against Chile last week, they won't make things easy for any team. Sure, it doesn't matter if they win this match since their fate can't be altered. But Los Amarillos would get a massive morale boost if they finish the qualifiers with a win over Lionel Messi and company. If anything, that would make their fans believe the rebuilding project is on the right path.
On the other hand, Argentina must win. Something they have struggled to do lately - one draw and three defeats in last four games. Can Jorge Sampaoli inspire his men to perform when they need it the most?

Brazil vs Chile - CONMEBOL (Wednesday, 00:30 BST)

One would think that Chile is set to clinch a World Cup berth for the third straight tournament. They sit third in the standings with 26 points, needing a number of results to go against them to get eliminated. But that is still part of the equation, so Chile need to fire on all cylinders to ensure they steal at least a point away at Brazil.

La Canarinha have seven wins and one draw in eight home matches during the qualifying campaign. Whereas Chile have just two wins, one draw and five defeats on the road. In fact, they have one draw and four defeats in past five contests away from home. So recent form does not help last year's Copa America winners. Neither will the absence of their key player, Arturo Vidal.
Brazil are massive favourites in this game. However, Chile have impressed over past three years - even though their current form has been disappointing. Can La Roja pull the upset and clinch their World Cup berth, or will they depend on other results to determine their presence in Russia next year?

Honduras vs Mexico - CONCACAF (Wednesday, 01:00 BST)

Honduras have conceded late equalisers in their past two CONCACAF qualifying matches, failing to close games against the USA and Costa Rica. Had they won those two games, a World Cup place would have already been clinched. But their failure to protect leads has them in a complicated position. With one game left on the schedule, Honduras sit fifth in the qualifying campaign with 10 points. They host Mexico in their final game. Los Catrachos must better Panama's result against Costa Rica to secure a playoff position.

Mexico won't be easy opponents. They have already clinched their berth on Russian soil. However, it hasn't been easy for them to win at Honduras in past. El Tri have one win, two draws and four losses in their last eight games visiting La H.

Mexico will want to finish the qualifying phase on a positive note. But Honduras must go for all three points to keep their World Cup hopes alive: will the pressure make them crumble?
Juan Pablo Aravena

29-year-old sports analyst and journalist with over three years of experience in the industry. Writes about all kinds of sports from football to golf, but there is no question his biggest passion in life is football. Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Colo Colo fan.

Total articles: 190

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