Sunday, October 11, 2009

North and South American Scenario Updates

As I said in the UEFA article, I'll write more on both of these confederations in the next couple days.

It was a big day for both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. North of Panama, the two big countries clinched spots in South Africa with impressive wins. Mexico rolled with a 4-1 win over El Salvador. The United States didn't look great, at least from what I read as I only caught the last five minutes due to traveling, but still managed to win away from home over a decent opponent. Costa Rica came up huge with a 4-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago. Wednesday will decide which of Costa Rica and Honduras go to the playoff or automatically qualify.

CONMEBOL is more messy. Chile joined Brazil and Paraguay as automatic qualifiers from South America with their 2-4 win in Colombia. The loss officially eliminated the Colombians. In two very exciting matches, last-minute goals were extremely important. Argentina beat Peru 2-1 on a goal by Palermo (offside?) in the 93rd minute. Uruguay won 1-2 on a penalty kick at the very end that came as a result of a breakaway. Here are all the goals. Those goals really changed things.

Here are the scenarios:

CONCACAF is pretty simple. If Costa Rica get a win in Washington DC or Honduras fail to win in San Salvador then Costa Rica automatically qualify and Honduras face a playoff against the 5th South American team (see below). If Costa Rica get a draw or loss and Honduras win then the Hondurans are in automatically and the Ticos face a home-and-home with the South American team.

In the CONMBEBOL, 3 teams are battling for 1 automatic spot and 1 playoff spot. Two of them play when Argentina cross the Río de la Plata to face Uruguay. The third team is Ecuador, who play in Chile. Ecuador are currently the odd team out but are guaranteed a playoff spot if they win. They theoretically could qualify automatically, but would need to beat Chile by five or more goals and have Uruguay - Argentina end in a draw. Barring a ridiculous scoreline like Uruguay 0 - 13 Argentina, Ecuador are eliminated with anything less than a win. A win for Uruguay puts them in automatically. With a draw or loss, they will need for Ecuador to fail to win in Chile. For Argentina, a win or draw puts them in the finals. With a loss, they would need for Ecuador to draw or lose to make the playoff.

In summary, here's what has to happen for each to be eliminated:
Ecuador - fail to win in Chile
Uruguay - fail to win vs Argentina and Ecuador win
Argentina - lose to Uruguay and Ecuador win

I'll write more on this later, but I don't think that last scenario is unlikely at all and I'd be worried if I were a fan of Argentina. It seems likely that Chile doesn't put up much of a fight and Uruguay have looked better than Argentina lately.

edit: Like Norway, Venezuela are still alive. They make the playoff if they win in Brazil, Argentina beat Uruguay, Ecuador draw or lose and the number of goals that Uruguay lose by and those that Venezuela win by add up to more than 15, or exactly 15 with Venezuela scoring at least six goals more than Uruguay.

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