The battle to secure a top five finish in CONMEBOL qualification is tightening up as Uruguay and Colombia pass the mid-way mark on the road to the 2022 World Cup.
La Tricolor visits the Estadio Gran Parque Central on Thursday looking to extend a four-game unbeaten run.
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Match Date: Oct. 7, 2021
Match Time: 7 p.m. ET
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Three points in Montevideo would secure either team’s top-five status for the time being, with Uruguay sitting third on 15 points and Colombia two points below in fifth.
La Celeste will be boosted in attack after Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani were each absent for the September qualifiers, though Uruguay still enjoyed a successful run of fixtures.
Óscar Tabárez’s side drew in Peru before beating Bolivia (4-2) and Ecuador (1-0) at home, with Gastón Pereiro coming up with the goods in injury time against the latter:
Uruguay hasn't posed a threat in front of goal, but its back line is considerably tighter, as one might have come to expect of a Tabárez team.
Reinaldo Rueda’s men, meanwhile, are the joint-second highest scorers in CONMEBOL qualifying, but have conceded just as many goals (16), leaking the third most of any team in the federation.
Colombia is looking to its own wizened sage for guidance in attack in Radamel Falcao. At 35-years-old some might have doubted the striker when he terminated his Galatasaray contract to return to La Liga with Rayo Vallecano, but Falcao is proving his doubters wrong thus far.
Porto’s Luis Díaz continues to develop as another Colombian threat that Uruguay will need to keep tabs on if its to seal a second straight qualifying win over Los Cafeteros at home.
Uruguay is also the only team thus far on the road to Qatar to have prevented Colombia from scoring, and the returns of Suarez and Cavani could prove invaluable at the other end of the pitch.