Argentina, Uruguay collide in South America qualifiers

News Hour

Luis Suarez could yet line up against Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi on Thursday as South America’s battle for 2018 World Cup places resumes with Argentina’s trip to Uruguay the pick of the fixtures, reports bss.

With leaders Brazil already locking up their place at next year’s tournament, attention turns to the tussle for the three remaining automatic berths on offer in the marathon 10-team qualifying tournament.

Colombia are second in the standings on 24 points while Uruguay and Chile occupy the other two automatic spots on 23 points.

It means that fifth-placed Argentina have little margin for error as they head to Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario for the latest instalment of their historic rivalry with the Uruguayans.

Argentina have spluttered their way through the qualifiers so far, notching only six wins in 14 games, but have shown signs of life under new coach Jorge Sampaoli.

Sampaoli, who masterminded Chile’s victory at the 2015 Copa America, took control of the ‘Albiceleste’ in May, and began his reign with a morale- boosting 1-0 win over Brazil in a friendly in June.

A 6-0 romp over lowly Singapore provided a further clue that Sampaoli, who favours an aggressive, attacking style, may already have begun to have an influence.

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