WCQ Preview: Venezuela versus Paraguay

Surprise points against Uruguay and Chile in Rounds 14 and 15, combined with three points from Peru in Round 16, have launched Venezuela back into contention for their first World Cup birth (Venezuela is the only nation in South America never to appear in a World Cup). To get to South Africa, Venezuela (currently seventh) will have to get results against Paraguay (Saturday) and at Brazil (Wednesday), but they are catching the group’s two top teams at the right time.

Both Paraguay and Brazil clinched their World Cup spots last break. Whether that effects their approach will be seen, but it’s safe to assume Venezuela would rather play those nations after they had clinched.

Entering the last week of qualifying one point back of fifth place (the region’s playoff spot), Venezuela is set to take advantage of their competitors having to play each other. With Ecuador and Uruguay playing in Quito on Saturday, Venezuela would move into sixth place with a win (potentially fifth, depending on Argentina does in Buenos Aires against Peru).

To Paraguay’s credit, they are making few changes from the core squad that’s been behind their qualifying success.

This post is continued at our sister-site, Mad About Fútbol.