- First-place Brazil will put their perfect record on the line with a visit to Uruguay on Tuesday, November 17
- Second-place Argentina face a slightly easier task with a trip to winless Peru
- Read on for analysis and best bets for the fourth round of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying
A Roberto Firmino goal was all that separated five-time world champions Brazil from Venezuela, the only South American team never to qualify for a World Cup finals, last Friday. If nothing else, it either goes to show how close some of these teams are to each other, or how much Brazil truly relies on Neymar, with the Paris Saint-Germain forward currently out injured.
But Brazil will have to play a whole lot better if they are to maintain their 100-percent qualifying record on Tuesday when they visit Uruguay, just three points back of them in the table. That match highlights the fourth round of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, with Argentina also visiting Peru, and Venezuela hosting Chile.
South American World Cup Qualifying Odds – Nov. 17
|Ecuador vs Colombia||+165||++225||+170|
|Venezuela vs Chile||+225||+215||+130|
|Uruguay vs Brazil||+170||+230||+155|
|Paraguay vs Bolivia||-435||+475||+1300|
|Peru vs Argentina||+365||+250||-125|
All odds taken Nov 16 at DraftKings
Which Brazil Will Show Up?
For the first two games of this qualification cycle, Brazil came out to play. In both the 5-0 home win over Bolivia and the 4-2 win in Peru, the Selecao poured on the style, scoring goals for fun and displaying some of the flair that everyone has come to know and love about this team.
But shorn of Neymar last Friday, Brazil enjoyed lots of possession and chances, but could not break down the backline of Venezuela, one of only two teams without a point in the qualifying campaign. Neymar is on his way back to Paris, so against Uruguay, coach Tite’s team will have to find a way to break through a team with an identical defensive record to Venezuela (both with five goals conceded).
However, while Firmino’s ability to find the net at Liverpool has been regularly questioned of late, he has no problems in the canary yellow of Brazil, as his three goals in three World Cup qualifiers so far clearly show.
Firmino has scored three goals in his last three games for Brazil ⚽⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/B6udfCEAbt
— Goal (@goal) November 15, 2020
Brazil’s defensive record has been solid though, with the two goals conceded in Peru the only blemishes on its report card. They will need to be against Uruguay though, and Luis Suarez in particular. The Atletico Madrid forward has four goals in Uruguay’s first three games, although all four have come from the penalty spot. Still, with seven goals scored, Uruguay are the joint second-leading scorers in the tournament and are proving to be dangerous going forward.
However, Brazil are unbeaten in their last 10 games against their South American rival, with La Celeste’s 1-0 qualifying win over Brazil in July, 2001, the team’s lone victory in the series this century.
Pick: Brazil (+155)
Can Argentina Shake Their Slumber?
Despite being unbeaten in their last 10 games, Argentina have been anything but the efficient machine followers have come to expect during the Lionel Messi era. After beginning their qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Ecuador, Argentina has begun its last two games by falling behind, before recovering for a win against Bolivia and being forced to settle for a draw with Paraguay.
Matchday 3 done & dusted in @CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying & Brazil lead the way
Matchday 4 coming up on Tuesday with Brazil in Uruguay and Argentina in Peru pic.twitter.com/kZFHI3NuOM
— GOLAZO (@golazoargentino) November 14, 2020
You have to go back more than 23 years to the last time Peru beat Argentina, on June 21, 1997, so the portents are good that Argentina can get back on track on Tuesday after dropping two points against Paraguay last Thursday. However, you also have to go back 16 years to find the last time that Argentina won in Peru after they registered draws on their previous three visits there.
But with just two goals conceded for Argentina through three games, you have to like their chances of keeping the score down. With the main question revolving around how many the likes of Messi and Angel Di Maria can grab at the other end.
Pick: Draw (+250)
Chile’s Time to Shine
After an injury-time Uruguay winner guaranteed Chile a shell-shocked start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, Reinaldo Rueda’s team has been slowly climbing through the gears in the intervening games. A 2-2 draw with Colombia the next time out was followed by a 2-0 win over Peru on Friday.
Both of their biggest stars – Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal – are in fine form, with the pair having combined for five goals. However, that positive is also one of the team’s biggest negatives, with those five goals accounting for the only five goals the team has scored.
??? Arturo Vidal in #CHIPER:
2 chances created
1 big chance created
41/48 (85%) passes
6/8 long balls
7 duels won
Amazing golazo, match-winning brace, and typically strong performance by the #Chile star.#LaRoja #Eliminatorias pic.twitter.com/mZiTW07rSX
— Joga Bonito (@Jasoninho10) November 14, 2020
On paper, Tuesday’s game against Venezuela shouldn’t present too many problems, with Venezuela having registered just two wins against Chile in their history. On top of that, Chile have won the past five games between the pair, with a goal differential of +15 in those games as well.
But given how well Venezuela was able to stifle and frustrate the Brazilian forwards during Friday night’s narrow loss to Brazil, maybe, just maybe, Venezuela can take something from this game.
Pick: Draw (+215)