By Louis Smith.
The most competitive World Cup qualifiers return this week — the Conmebol World Cup qualifiers. Keep yourself updated with a preview of all ten nations as they get ready for their third and fourth matches.
Argentina got off to the best possible start last month with a pair of victories: a 1-0 home win over Ecuador and, more impressively, showed courage to defeat Bolivia at high altitude.
They will be eager to build on this as they prepare to host Paraguay, before travelling to Lima to take on Peru.
Paulo Dybala has been declared unfit and thus left out of the squad; fellow striker Sergio Agüero is also absent.
Ángel di María returns to the side for the first time since last year and will be hoping to cement his place for future selections.
Possible debutants are Emiliano Martínez and Nehuén Pérez, who will be eager to showcase their talents on the international stage.
Esteban Andrada, Franco Armani and Gonzalo Montiel are the only players called up from the Argentine domestic league.
Six players are included who, for one reason or another, were not present last month: Agustín Marchesín, Ángel Di María, Giovani Lo Celso, Leonardo Balerdi, Lisandro Martínez and Walter Kannemann.
Goalkeepers: Franco Armani, Esteban Andrada, Agustín Marchesín, Emiliano Martínez
Defenders: Lucas Martínez Quarta, Nicolás Tagliafico, Gonzalo Montiel, Facundo Medina, Nicolás Otamendi, Walter Kannemann, Leonardo Balerdi, Lisandro Martínez, Nehuén Pérez
Midfielders: Leandro Paredes, Ángel Di María, Rodrigo De Paul, Guido Rodríguez, Nicolás Domínguez, Giovani Lo Celso, Exequiel Palacios
Forwards: Alejandro Gómez, Joaquín Correa, Lionel Messi, Lucas Alario, Lautaro Martínez, Lucas Ocampos, Nicolás González
Despite not having The Strongest squad in South America, Bolivia are Always Ready and well prepared for the challenges that await — and this week will be no different.
The Bolivians had arguably the toughest possible start to the qualifying campaign as they had to play Brazil and Argentina back to back. After a 5-0 mauling by Brazil in São Paulo, the Bolivians made Argentina fight hard to earn their three points in La Paz, in what was a 2-1 home defeat.
This time around they start off by hosting Ecuador, against whom they will be hoping to pick up their first points. The second game sees them travel to Asunción to take on Paraguay. La Verde will certainly be hoping to put in a much better performance than they did in their last away fixture.
Bolivia’s squad mainly comprises of home-based players, with only six (Marcelo Martins, Antonio Bustamante, Leonardo Zabala, Jaume Cuéllar, Alejandro Chumacero and Boris Céspedes) playing their football outside their native land.
Goalkeepers: Carlos Lampe, Javier Rojas Iguaro, Jimmy Roca
Defenders: Gabriel Valverde, José Sagredo, José María Carrasco, Carlos Áñez, Leonardo Zabala, Saúl Torres, Jesús Sagredo, Guimer Justiniano, Luis Demiquel
Midfielders: Alejandro Chumacero, Diego Wayar, Christian Árabe, Boris Céspedes, Rudy Cardozo, Raúl Castro, Antonio Bustamante, Jaume Cuéllar, Erwin Junior Sánchez, Jhasmani Campos, Franz Gonzales
Forwards: Marcelo Martins, Bruno Miranda, Nelson Orozco, Carlos Saucedo, César Menacho, Fernando Saldías
Tite’s boys got off to a perfect start last month, destroying Bolivia 5-0 and then winning 4-2 away in Peru. A tally of nine goals in two games certainly gives them something to build on going forward.
Brazil’s first game this month sees them host Venezuela at the Estádio do Morumbi. They will be eager for victory following the 2019 Copa América group stage match that saw Brazil have three goals disallowed, leaving them frustrated in a 0-0 draw.
Their away trip promises to be a tough test as they take on Uruguay. It’s worth noting, however, that when the Seleção last travelled to Uruguay in 2017, they enjoyed an impressive 4-1 victory — they would love something similar this time around.
First-choice keeper Alisson returns to the squad and is likely to start in goal. Last month, Tite surprised many by opting to play Weverton between the sticks instead of Manchester City’s Ederson.
Éder Militão and Casemiro have both tested positive for Covid-19 and have had to withdraw from the squad.
Rodrigo Caio, Philippe Coutinho and Fabinho were also originally called up, but will now miss out owing to injuries.
Flamengo’s impressive attacker Pedro is a late call-up, and with Neymar’s injury situation in the balance he could even get some game time.
Another late replacement is centre-back Diego Carlos, who comes into the squad for Militão.
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Ederson, Weverton
Defenders: Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Danilo, Renan Lodi, Alex Telles, Felipe, Diego Carlos, Gabriel Menino
Midfielders: Arthur, Lucas Paquetá, Allan, Éverton Ribeiro, Douglas Luiz, Bruno Guimarães
Forwards: Neymar, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison, Everton, Vinícius Júnior, Pedro
Chile didn’t get off to the best of starts last time out as they suffered a 2-1 away defeat against Uruguay and, after a late equaliser from Radamel Falcao, a 2-2 home draw with Colombia. It’s important to win your home games during World Cup qualification, and La Roja will be hoping that this time out they can do just that.
They kick things off by hosting Peru, before travelling to Venezuela. On paper, the games look more simple than last month’s, but that doesn’t guarantee they’re going to be any easier for the Chileans.
Six uncapped players have been called up to the squad: Omar Carabalí, Yonathan Andía, Rodrigo Echeverría, Pablo Parra, Niklas Castro and Carlos Palacios.
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo provides a welcome boost to the side as he returns after missing out last month through injury.
Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo, Brayan Cortés, Omar Carabalí
Defenders: Mauricio Isla, Jean Beausejour, Paulo Díaz, Guillermo Maripán, Sebastián Vegas, Francisco Sierralta, Nicolás Díaz, Yonathan Andía
Midfielders: Arturo Vidal, Erick Pulgar, César Pinares, Claudio Baeza, Jean Meneses, Rodrigo Echeverría, Pablo Parra
Forwards: Alexis Sánchez, Fabián Orellana, Diego Rubio, Felipe Mora, Andrés Vilches, Niklas Castro, Carlos Palacios
Colombia got their qualification campaign off to a flyer with three first-half goals against Venezuela in Barranquilla, allowing them to cruise to a 3-0 victory. Los Cafeteros then earned an important away point against Chile as they drew 2-2 thanks to Falcao’s late goal.
Uruguay are next on the menu for the Colombians in what promises to be an exciting matchup. Their subsequent game sees them travel to Quito to take on Ecuador, a side they have beaten on the last four occasions, keeping three clean sheets in the process.
David Ospina is back in the squad after missing the last one due to Covid-related precautions. Fellow goalkeeper Álvaro Montero is the only domestic-based player to make the cut.
Two players are in line for a first cap: Daniel Muñoz and Luis Suárez. Before you begin to wonder if the Atlético Madrid striker has switched nationalities, this Suárez is a 22-year-old forward currently playing for Granada in Spain who has impressed in recent Europa League matches.
Falcao misses out this time through injury, along with Stefan Medina.
Goalkeepers: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Álvaro Montero
Defenders: Davinson Sánchez, Jeison Murillo, Yerry Mina, Frank Fabra, William Tesillo, Johan Mojica, Jhon Lucumí, Luis Orejuela, Daniel Muñoz
Midfielders: Juan Cuadrado, James Rodríguez, Edwin Cardona, Wílmar Barrios, Mateus Uribe, Jefferson Lerma, Jorman Campuzano
Forwards: Luis Muriel, Duván Zapata, Luis Díaz, Alfredo Morelos, Luis Suárez
The youthful Ecuadorians had a very eye-catching opening to their campaign. A 1-0 loss away to Argentina — a match they were expected to lose heavily — was something to build on, and build on it they did, as they subsequently dismantled Uruguay 4-2 at home.
Despite the turmoil going on within the Ecuadorian FA, the national side has some serious young talents to watch out for, especially Moises Caicedo, who has been in sublime form of late for both club and country.
This time La Tri start high up at altitude in Bolivia where the youngster could struggle in difficult conditions; however, it would be foolish to write off him and his teammates. Their home game against Colombia promises an interesting clash.
12 domestic-based players have been selected in the squad, one more than last time.
Hernán Galíndez, Pedro Perlaza and Adolfo Muñoz are three players who could potentially make their International debuts.
Goalkeepers: Alexander Domínguez, Pedro Ortíz, Hernán Galíndez
Defenders: Robert Arboleda, Mario Pineida, Xavier Arreaga, Diego Palacios, Ángelo Preciado, Pervis Estupiñán, Félix Torres, Moisés Corozo, Erick Ferigra, Beder Caicedo, Pedro Pablo Perlaza
Midfielders: Renato Ibarra, Carlos Gruezo, Ángel Mena, Jhegson Méndez, Junior Sornoza, Alan Franco, Gonzalo Plata, José Cifuentes, Jhojan Julio, Moisés Caicedo, Joao Rojas, Adolfo Muñoz
Forwards: Enner Valencia, Michael Estrada, Leonardo Campana
La Albirroja got off to a decent start last month but will be disappointed they couldn’t pick up three points on home soil against Peru, especially after having taken the lead with just nine minutes to play.
However, in their second match away in Venezuela the Paraguayans enjoyed a 1-0 victory thanks to a late strike from Gastón Giménez. This game also witnessed a crucial penalty save by Antony Silva in the dying moments that ensured the Guaraní-speaking nation picked up all three points.
Paraguay’s next game is a tricky trip to Argentina. The motto on Paraguay’s shirt reads “Ndaipóri Khyhjé”, meaning “without fear”, and that’s exactly how Eduardo Berizzo’s boys will play in Buenos Aires. The meeting between the pair in the Copa América last year finished 1-1, which will give the visitors confidence that they can get another result. They’re also unbeaten in their last three matches against Argentina and would love to extend that run even further.
😃 Miguel, Miguelito, Miggy… No estás solo.
Se viene tu momento 🔜
🗓 Jueves 12/11
📍 Buenos Aires, Argentina 🇦🇷
🇵🇾 #GenAlbirrojo pic.twitter.com/smw2Zqjntu
— Marcelo Burgos (@marceloburgosf) November 9, 2020
Their second match is at home against Bolivia, a must-win fixture for Paraguay as they will be seeking to avoid any hiccups that could cost them further down the line.
Fabián Balbuena has recently been in good form for West Ham playing in a back three, but hasn’t been a regular starter for his country of late. Could his club performances sway Berizzo?
Newcastle fans will have the chance to see Miguel Almirón playing in a more attacking role, as his last few weeks on Tyneside have seen him deployed in increasingly deep positions. Despite this, he has remained a key performer for the Magpies and will be hoping to carry his form onto the international stage.
Eleven domestic-based players feature in the squad, including the returning Jorge Morel, who last year demonstrated his commitment to both club and country.
Goalkeepers: Antony Silva, Alfredo Aguilar, Miguel Martínez
Defenders: Gustavo Gómez, Júnior Alonso, Fabián Balbuena, Santiago Arzamendia, Juan Escobar, Robert Rojas, Omar Alderete, Alberto Espínola
Midfielders: Óscar Romero, Miguel Almirón, Rodrigo Rojas, Richard Sánchez, Matías Rojas, Mathías Villasanti, Jorge Morel, Gastón Giménez, Ángel Cardozo Lucena
Forwards: Hernán Pérez, Ángel Romero, Darío Lezcano, Antonio Sanabria, Raúl Bobadilla, Alejandro Romero Gamarra, Braian Samudio, Sebastián Ferreira
Peru will have to improve upon their opening results if they want to make it to two World Cups in a row. After earning a hard-fought point in Paraguay, Los Incas suffered a 4-2 home loss to Brazil, a game that also saw them lose their cool towards the end as Carlos Cáceda and Carlos Zambrano were given their marching orders.
This time around they face a trip to Santiago to take on Chile, a team they have beaten 3-0 the last two times the pair have met. Afterwards, they host Argentina, who Peru managed to avoid defeat against both times in the Russia 2018 qualifiers as they battled to two draws.
Five domestic-based players have been called up to the side: José Carvallo, Aldo Corzo, Christian Ramos, Christofer Gonzáles and Renato Solís.
Jean-Pierre Rhyner, Renato Solís, Gianluca Lapadula and Aldair Rodríguez could all potentially make their international debuts here.
Jefferson Farfán misses out this time after being sidelined by an injury.
Goalkeepers: Pedro Gallese, José Carvallo, Renato Solís
Defenders: Luis Advíncula, Christian Ramos, Miguel Trauco, Aldo Corzo, Luis Abram, Miguel Araujo, Anderson Santamaría, Alexander Callens, Marcos López, Jean-Pierre Rhyner
Midfielders: Yoshimar Yotún, Christian Cueva, Renato Tapia, Pedro Aquino, Christofer Gonzáles, Wilder Cartagena
Forwards: André Carrillo, Edison Flores, Raúl Ruidíaz, Andy Polo, Gianluca Lapadula, Aldair Rodríguez
Despite picking up three points last month, Uruguay will have been fairly disappointed with their performances. Óscar Tabárez’s men left it late to sneak a win against Chile at home, but were then taught a lesson by a youthful Ecuador side in a 4-2 away defeat. Furthermore, three of the four goals Uruguay scored came from the penalty spot.
This month they face two massive tests as they start with a trip to Colombia, where they will be hoping to frustrate the hosts’ attacking flair. This is followed by a clash with Brazil in Montevideo. Perhaps surprisingly, Uruguay haven’t actually beaten the Brazilians since 2001.
Darwin Núñez is certainly one to keep an eye out for. The forward has been the standout performer at Benfica so far this season, and at just 21 years of age, has a promising future ahead of him. With two caps, Núñez already has an international goal to his name.
Agustín Oliveros and Diego Rossi are among several players who could make their debuts in the upcoming week.
Oliveros, along with Gabriel Neves, Alexis Rolín and Yonatan Irrazábal, are the four domestic-based players included in the squad.
Goalkeepers: Martín Silva, Martín Campaña, Rodrigo Muñoz
Defenders: Diego Godín, Martín Cáceres, José Giménez, Matías Viña, Agustín Oliveros, Damián Suárez, Alexis Rolín
Midfielders: Nahitan Nández, Rodrigo Bentancur, Lucas Torreira, Brian Rodríguez, Mauro Arambarri, Nicolás De La Cruz, Gabriel Neves
Forwards: Edinson Cavani, Luis Suárez, Jonathan Rodríguez, Darwin Núñez, Diego Rossi
After the opening two matchdays, Venezuela, like Bolivia, are yet to pick up a point. A disappointing first half saw them three goals down against Colombia away from home, then in Mérida, after conceding a late goal and Yangel Herrera missing an even later penalty, La Vinotinto suffered a 1-0 defeat to Paraguay.
They will be hoping to bounce back against Brazil, a team they successfully frustrated last year. José Peseiro’s men will then seek to impress at home in Caracas against Chile.
The Venezuela squad features four uncapped players from the domestic league: Oscar Conde, Jean Fuentes, Cristhian Rivas and Anderson Contreras. There were initially six, but José Contreras and Christian Larotonda have been unable to travel to Brazil as they have both tested positive for Covid-19.
Yangel Herrera and Darwin Machís have been in fine form for Granada, who currently sit fifth in La Liga and are enjoying their first taste of European football in the Europa League, where they remain unbeaten after three group games.
All-time top scorer Salomón Rondón returns to the side, which will give Venezuela a much-needed boost.
Goalkeepers: Wuilker Faríñez, Alain Baroja, Joel Graterol
Defenders: Roberto Rosales, Alexander González, Wilker Ángel, Rolf Feltscher, Jhon Chancellor, Yordan Osorio, Luis Mago, Jean Fuentes, Oscar Conde
Midfielders: Tomás Rincón, Rómulo Otero, Jhon Murillo, Juan Pablo Añor, Yangel Herrera, Junior Moreno, Yeferson Soteldo, Jefferson Savarino, Bernaldo Manzano, Cristian Cásseres Jr, Cristhian Rivas, Anderson Contreras
Forwards: Salomón Rondón, Darwin Machís, Fernando Aristeguieta, Jan Carlos Hurtado
Round Three Fixtures
Bolivia vs Ecuador | Kick-off — 20:00 (GMT) 12/11/2020
Argentina vs Paraguay | Kick-off — 00:00 (GMT) 13/11/2020
Colombia vs Uruguay | Kick-off — 20:30 (GMT) 13/11/2020
Chile vs Peru | Kick-off — 23:00 (GMT) 13/11/2020
Brazil vs Venezuela | Kick-off — 00:30 (GMT) 14/11/2020
Round Four Fixtures
Ecuador vs Colombia | Kick-off — 21:00 (GMT) 17/11/2020
Venezuela vs Chile | Kick-off — 21:00 (GMT) 17/11/2020
Paraguay vs Bolivia | Kick-off — 23:00 (GMT) 17/11/2020
Uruguay vs Brazil | Kick-off — 23:00 (GMT) 17/11/2020
Peru vs Argentina | Kick-off — 00:30 (GMT) 18/11/2020