CONMEBOL 2014 World Cup qualifying: There's still all to play for in South America

Dennis Grombkowski

The next round of games in South America's World Cup qualification group takes place on Friday, and no one can afford to get complacent.

Apart from Argentina having almost certainly guaranteed themselves a place at next year's World Cup, the CONMEBOL qualification scrap is still wide open. The absence of tournament hosts Brazil has made it even more competitive, and Friday sees the next round of games take place. At this stage, every point counts.

Bolivia vs. Venezuela

4 p.m. ET, local

One of the biggest surprises of this qualification group, Venezuela are currently sitting in fifth place. That's good enough for them to qualify for an intercontinental playoff, where they'd have the opportunity of reaching their first ever World Cup. They'll see this away trip to Bolivia -- who are almost certainly out of the qualification race -- as a chance to pick up more valuable points, but with the stadium in La Paz at a notoriously high altitude, it'll be more difficult than the table would suggest. Only Brazil have beaten Bolivia in their last eight home games.

Argentina vs. Colombia

6:05 p.m. ET, 7:05 p.m. local

This is unquestionably the match of the day. Argentina are perhaps the only side in the qualification group who look like safe qualifiers. They're at the top, five points clear of third-place side Colombia, who travel to Buenos Aires on Friday having been one of the most exciting international sides in the world over the last few months. However, they suffered a shocking defeat to Venezuela in their last qualification match, so they will be looking to get back on peak form. This isn't one to miss.

Paraguay vs. Chile

8:10 p.m. ET, local

Paraguay are sitting at the foot of South America's qualification table, and host a Chile who've underperformed of late. Their 2-0 win over Uruguay in the last round of CONCACAF games came on the back of four straight competitive defeats, leaving them level on points with Venezuela and only a couple ahead of Uruguay -- who are currently on course to miss the cut. Only a win will settle Chilean nerves here.

Peru vs. Ecuador

10:10 p.m. ET, 9:10 p.m. local

Probably the biggest surprise of all, Ecuador are currently in second place, four points adrift of pace-setters Argentina. They can't afford to ease up yet though, and could find this trip to Lima a challenge. Peru have a four-point deficit to make up to get themselves really in the qualification hunt, and while unlikely, it's not yet impossible.

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