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Ecuador and Uruguay are both aiming to qualify for the World Cup this week.

Ecuador and Uruguay are both aiming to qualify for the World Cup this week.

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — With Ecuador and Uruguay aiming to secure spots behind Brazil and Argentina this week, South America’s quota of four direct spots for the World Cup in Qatar could be filled with a round of qualifying to spare.

In June, the fifth-place team from South America will play the fifth-place team from Asia in an intercontinental playoff for a spot in Qatar, so the competition is still fierce. Peru, Chile, and Colombia are battling for fourth or fifth place in qualifying until the final round. Bolivia, Paraguay, and Venezuela have already been eliminated from the competition.

On Thursday, the most anticipated match will take place at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo, between Uruguay (22 points) and Peru (21). Chile’s chances (19) in Rio de Janeiro are contingent on scoring points against first-placed Brazil (39). With a combination of different results, third-place Ecuador (25) can secure a spot in Qatar. Gustavo Alfaro’s team only needs a win in Paraguay (13) to qualify for the World Cup.

Ecuador and Uruguay
Ecuador and Uruguay

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A draw is also a possibility, as long as Peru does not defeat Uruguay. If Peru loses in Montevideo, a loss could be enough.Colombia (17) will face Bolivia (15) in a qualifier that will require an extremely unlikely set of results.

Argentina will host Venezuela in the only South American qualifying match on Friday. Next Tuesday will be the final round of qualifying.

South American teams have faced significant challenges since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only because of the high prevalence of the virus in their countries, but also because of the health protocols required to bring in Europe-based players for matches.

PERU vs. URUGUAY

After four consecutive defeats under veteran coach Oscar Tabárez, Uruguay was in serious danger of missing out on the 2022 World Cup. Since Diego Alonso took over, the team’s fortunes have improved in both matches.

Uruguay can now qualify for the World Cup with a win over a direct rival, as long as Chile does not win in Brazil. “We’ll treat this match as if it were a final,” he said “At a press conference, Alonso stated. With a win over Uruguay, Peru can secure at least fifth place — as long as Chile does not defeat Brazil at Maracan Stadium. Because next week’s round will feature Chile vs. Uruguay and Peru hosting Paraguay, avoiding defeat in Montevideo could be enough to get close to Qatar.

“To get to the final round relying solely on ourselves is exactly what we had hoped for all along,” says the team “Ricardo Gareca, who led Peru to its first World Cup in 36 years in the most recent edition, said as much. “In the two final rounds, we need a lot of narrative, conviction, and mentality to rely solely on ourselves.”

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CHILE vs. BRAZIL

A loss to Brazil would put an end to Chile’s World Cup hopes in 2022. Chile has never beaten the Seleço in a competitive match. A draw would keep its qualification hopes alive, but the team would then have to beat Uruguay at home and hope that Peru does not beat Paraguay in Lima. “It’s clear that we can’t play a fearful game,” says the coach “Martin Lasarte, Chile’s coach, stated. “We have to play on an equal footing.” In its two remaining games against Chile and Bolivia, Brazil is aiming for a South American qualifying record. Tite’s team would have 45 points after two wins, two more than Argentina had before the 2002 World Cup. Despite the fact that Brazil and Argentina have already qualified for Qatar, FIFA insists on the teams playing the match that was postponed in September. Tite’s desire to continue his experiment with an attacking trio of Antony, Neymar, and Vinicius Jr. was evident during Tuesday’s training session. In the remaining matches, he is expected to give Gabriel Martinelli and Richarlison chances as centre forwards. “We are preparing for a World Cup,” Antony said, despite the fact that they had qualified. “We’ll treat this as another fantastic match to play, and we’ll give it our all.”

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