Uruguay 0-1 Argentina
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay
Kickoff: 23:00 BST
Argentina beat Uruguay in their final World Cup qualification game to send them through to South Africa on automatic qualification. It wasn’t easy (that’s been the story of Argentina’s campaign so far) and they left it late; a mistake in the 84th minute (and second yellow card) by Martin Caceres conceded a free kick from which Juan Veron had a shot charged down, but Mario Bolatti, on the field for just four minutes after replacing Gonzalo Higuain, reacted quickest to the loose ball to beat Nestor Muslera in the Uruguayan goal.
Uruguay finished in 5th place (thanks to Chile beating Ecuador) and will take on Costa Rica in the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL play-off for a World Cup berth.
Highlights of the game after the jump.
Uruguay v Argentina Highlights
Uruguay v Argentina Preview
Uruguay take on Argentina in a gripping finale to a topsy-turvy World Cup qualification campaign, highlighted by a fortune-changing weekend. A weekend that has seen Argentina flirt with failing to qualify for next year before, in dramatic fashion, pulling themselves back into fourth place and in with a decent shout for automatic qualification. A weekend that saw Uruguay snatch a priceless victory away to Ecuador to jump above them in the standings and give them a shot at qualification, automatic or otherwise.
It promises to be a thrilling game full of nerves and ripe for a player – Argentine or Uruguayan – to stand up and leave their mark on the game.
Martin Palermo could be the saviour of Argentina after his 92nd minute winner against Peru moved Argentina into fourth place in South America World Cup qualifications.
Two goals in the span of two minutes saw the match swing wildly back and forth before Argentina finally emerged victorious against Peru in an unrelenting downpour of rain at the Momumental Stadium in Buenos Aires. Still, Diego Maradona knows that there is another mighty task awaiting his side in Wednesday night’s Uruguay vs Argentina match.
With the final match of qualifications looming, it is still mathematically feasible that Argentina could miss qualifying for the World Cup Finals in South Africa. In fact, it is a very realistic threat.
Argentina currently sit fourth in the final direct qualification place with no opportunity to advance in the standings. A loss to Uruguay would mean, at very best, Argentina would have to qualify via a playoff.
Shockingly enough, Lionel Messi has been virtually invisible for Argentina in recent weeks. The little magician, who has been lighting La Liga on fire with quality performance after quality performance for Barcelona, has somehow lost his way for his home nation, and if ever was a time to rediscover his form, Wednesday would certainly be it.
Uruguay have done well to claw their way back into contention for fourth place, following up a run of four matches without a win, by securing back-to-back victories over Colombia, and more impressively, away battling the high altitude in Ecuador.
Uruguay required last minute drama in order to seal three points against Ecuador. Diego Forlan’s 90th minute penalty proved the difference to give Uruguay’s hopes of reaching South Africa an injection of astronomical proportions.
The victory shot Uruguay past Ecuador in the standings and sets up a fantastic final meeting against Argentina to decide who advances.
Uruguay v Argentina – Predictions
When the two teams met back in October 2008 in Buenos Aires for the first of their two qualification meetings, it was Argentina who triumphed with a 2-1 scoreline.
While gut instinct would suggest Argentina to be the stronger side for this reverse fixture, their performances for the better part of the last year give real reason to doubt their chances.
The Argentinians will have to be very careful, as Uruguay possess a quality team that could very easily post a victory on Wednesday night and put Argentina’s qualification in jeopardy. Diego Forlan, in particular, has been labelled as a danger man, and Argentina must ensure that he does not put the game in Uruguay’s favour.
The bookies aren’t backing a result in this game – if you were betting with BlueSQ on this game you’d see that they’ve priced Uruguay and Argentina at 7/5 and 8/5 respectively – but we think Argentina should do just about enough on the night; a draw should see them through to the 2010 World Cup competition.
Expect drama, expect nerves, and if Argentina are trailing Uruguay with just minutes to go, you can expect them to throw the kitchen sink and then some.
Uruguay vs Argentina Prediction: Uruguay 2 – Argentina 2