Is the South American World Cup qualifying phase the best?
Of course this is a very subjective question and what does the best really mean?
Entertainment? Drama? Quality of play? Degree of difficulty?
One thing is for sure it certainly has all the elements that make it incredibly intriguing.
With Brazil qualifying as the host nation in 2014 they are out of the qualifying picture but right now it is tough to predict. Just look at the table:
Argentina 14 pts
Colombia 13 pts
Ecuador 13 pts
Uruguay 12 pts
Chile 12 pts
Venezuela 11 pts
Bolivia 4 pts
All teams have played seven matches except for Venezuela who has played eight.
In the end you play each other twice for a total of 16 matches. Truly a grueling process that includes trips to altitude in Quito, Ecuador and La Paz, Bolivia where it is almost a joke as to how differently the “ball” acts.
So yesterday I called the Uruguay/Ecuador game in BEIN Sport in Miami with Ian Joy a former defender in MLS and at St. Pauli in Germany.
Played at the famed Centenario Stadium in Montivideo, Uruguay the game was fascinating, chaotic, emotionally on edge, featured poor referee decisions, and moments of intense skill.
So hear you get the chance to see Antonio Valencia (Man Utd) playing wide for Ecuador.
Walter Ayovi (Monterrey) at left back and Chucho Benetiz (Club America) up front representing their country. Different uniform, nationalistic pride on the line and players carrying the hopes of a nation.
Oh you also might just have been introduced to massive striker Felipe Caicedo who plays in Russia and provided both goals for Ecuador over the course of two games against Bolivia a 1-0 win and the 1-1 draw at Uruguay.
Uruguay started with a three pronged attack. How about these three : Edinson Cavani (Napoli), Diego Forlan (now playing in Brazil), Luis Suarez (Liverpool).
Young talent was sprinkled in both lineups and some will undoubtably be household names in the future.
Colombia has re-emerged ripping apart Uruguay 4-0 (ended 18 match unbeaten streak) on Friday and then defeating Chile 3-1 at Chile. Radamel Falcao, Teofilo Guitterez and company take a full 6 points and remind us that Colombia is back.
They are now second under former Argentine manager Jose Pekerman.
South American World Cup qualifying rarely lets you down. Yesterday was no different as new storylines are created each and every round.
So is South American World Cup qualifying the best for drama, quality, degree of difficulty? You tell me?
Twitter: GlennDavisSoc Kick Cancer Dec. 14-16 cccfund.org