Headed into match days 15 and 16 of 2014 World Cup Qualifying in CONMEBOL, there were several teams who could either put themselves in a position to qualify directly, or end up fighting for fifth and potentially being out of a to- five spot.
While one would assume that Argentina were the biggest winners given they were the first team to clinch qualification for the World Cup, the biggest winners of the latest round of games played was Uruguay, as they won both their games and now have a chance to directly qualify for the World Cup.
Heading into the latest qualifying games played, Uruguay were in fifth place on 16 points, which meant that they would have been the team playing in the playoff against an Asian confederation team, who we now know is Jordan.
Uruguay had to play at Lima against Peru last Friday and hosted Colombia at home on Tuesday in decisive games which were “six pointers”, as wins ensured that they would make qualification for Peru a virtual impossibility and get them closer to potential direct qualification.
In the game against Peru, Uruguay won 2-1 thanks to both goals being scored by Luis Suarez. Uruguay took the momentum from their win over Peru and found a way to beat Colombia 2-0 thanks to goals from Cavani and Stuani within a four-minute stretch in the final 15 minutes of the game.
After two very important wins with their backs against the wall, Uruguay have gone from being fifth with 16 points and on shaky ground with a pesky Venezuela right behind them, to now being tied for fourth on 22 points with two games left and a chance to directly qualify to the World Cup.
In their next game on October 11, Uruguay visit the team they are tied in fourth place with in Ecuador. While the game will be played in the afternoon in Quito, Ecuador are nearly unbeatable at home.
Uruguay go into the game knowing that they will face an Ecuador team struggling in form, and taking the three points would see them able to play their final qualifier at home against an already-qualified Argentina with some peace of mind, given there is a potential for a “gentlemen’s agreement” to be employed.