FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Standings & Schedule: Uruguay, Ecuador Fight for First Place Over Brazil, Chile
The first four match days of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers are in the books.
At the moment, Ecuador is the only perfect CONMEBOL team remaining. Ecuador is a perfect 4-0 with wins over Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Venezuela. Ecuador is the sixth ranked team in South America, but they are playing like the best. Their best forward, Felipe Caicedo, is the leading goal scorer of this tournament so far with four goals.
After not making a single World Cup appearance from 1930-1998, Ecuador has qualified for three of the last four World Cups. This country is clearly heading in the right direction, soccer wise that is.
Uruguay currently sits in second place, which is very impressive considering they haven't had their best player for the last nine international matches. Luis Suarez will return for Uruguay on Match Day 5 against Neymar and Brazil. Uruguay picked up a huge 3-0 victory over Chile, who recently won the 2015 Copa America. Thanks to Diego Godín, Uruguay defeated Colombia in a lopsided 3-0 victory. when Suarez gets back, this Uruguayan squad will be much more difficult to handle.
Argentina, the top national team in CONMEBOL, only has five points, but they should be there in the end when it matters most. Argentina failed to score a single goal in each of their first two games, but a draw against heavily favored Brazil and a road win over Colombia were huge games. Lionel Messi is still out with a leg injury, so to even have five points after four games is pretty impressive.
Chile lost their last game to Uruguay, but they've looked good so far. Claudio Bravo's team scored a huge 2-0 victory over Brazil on opening day, and they sit in fifth place in the standings. Chile is an extremely balanced team with Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas leading the team in goals while Arturo Vidal is proving to be one of the best middle fielders in the world. Chile is tied with Brazil and Paraguay with seven points.
One could argue that Colombia has been the most disappointing team thus far. Colombia shocked soccer fans worldwide last year when they made it all the way to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, James Rodriguez and the club haven't been as impressive this year. Colombia was dominated by a Suarez-less Uruguay squad, and they couldn't even manage to score a single goal at home against Argentina. The top four teams automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup while the fifth place team has a chance though a playoff system.
Match Day 5 will not be played until March 24, 2016, however the games have already been released. All 10 CONMEBOL national teams will be playing on that day.
Argentina at Chile
Uruguay at Brazil
Paraguay at Ecuador
Venezuela at Peru
Colombia at Bolivia
1. Ecuador: 4-0, 12 points
2. Uruguay: 3-0-1, 9 points
3. Brazil: 2-1-1, 7 points
4. Paraguay: 2-1-1, 7 points
5. Chile: 2-1-1, 7 points
6. Argentina: 1-2-1, 5 points
7. Colombia: 1-1-2, 4 points
8. Bolivia: 1-0-3, 3 points
9. Peru: 1-0-3, 3 points
10. Venezuela: 0-4, 0 points
Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1
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