Oscar Cardozo of Paraguay reacts after Iker Casillas of Spain saves his penalty kick. Paraguay takes on Venezuela in CONMEBOL 2014 World Cup qualifying on September 11, 2012. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Paraguay and Venezuela need to get points off each other if either one of them plans on challenging South America's elite for a spot in the World Cup. Follow @SBNationSoccer
Thanks to the surprisingly fantastic play of both Colombia and Ecuador, both Paraguay and Venezuela are currently on the outside looking into the qualifying spots in CONMEBOL. Paraguay, in particular, are off to an abysmal start with four wins from six matches. Gerardo Martino departed after their Copa America runners-up performance last year, and neither Fernando Arce or Gerardo Pelusso has been able to duplicate his results.
It's too early in qualifying to call any game a must-win, but this is as close as a game can get to being a must-win without actually being one. If Paraguay can't defeat Venezuela at home, they can't be expected to pick up too many points during the rest of the tournament.
Venezuela are going to need to pick up some road points to break into the top five, and this is as good as an opportunity as any. A draw would probably suit them just fine, though. Colombia and Ecuador are both playing away this round and will struggle to gain any ground on Venezuela.
Game Date/Time: Friday, 7:25 p.m. ET, 8:25 p.m. local
Venue: Estadio Defensores del Chaco, Asunción, Paraguay
TV: beIN Sport