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FIFA World Cup 2026 - How do things look after Matchday 4 of CONMEBOL Qualifying?

Published: Updated: 16:10, 8 Nov 2023
10 South American nations are fighting for the chance to appear at the biggest World Cup in history in three years time

The 2026 FIFA World Cup, which is set to be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico, has already begun its qualifying campaign. Four games in, it's largely business as usual at the top of the CONMEBOL qualifying table, as World Champions Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil make up the top three.

Those 10 nations which make up South American qualifying will play each other home and away for a total of 18 rounds of fixtures and will rank in a traditional league format. The top six nations will earn automatic berths, while the seventh-placed side will enter an intercontinental play-off.

FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifying - International Playoff Format

This international play-off format will feature one team from each FIFA territory apart from UEFA which does not enter this round of qualifying. That's one nation from CONMEBOL (South America), one from AFC (Asia), one from OFC (Oceania) one from CAF( Africa) and two from host territory CONCACAF (North & Central America).

The two highest seeded teams will automatically advance to a final play-off where they will play for the chance to go to World Cup 2026. Meanwhile, the other four will compete in two semi-finals, before the winners face off in the other final play-off.

This means that from the six nations involved in the international play-off only two will proceed to the World Cup.

It is at that point that sports betting in Peru is expected to go crazy as anticipation builds for the completion of the World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign.

How is South American Qualifying shaping up?

After four rounds of qualification, World Champions Argentina are sitting pretty at the top of the table with a 100% record, already boasting a five-point lead over the next closest competitors in fellow World Cup winners Uruguay and Brazil

Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador make up the rest of the automatic qualification places as things stand, with Paraguay sitting in the play-off place, closely followed by Chile.

Peru have just one point in ninth-place, while Bolivia have yet to secure a single point and prop up the table.

Venezuela are in good form and have surprised many as the Wine-Red look likely to reach their first ever World Cup if they continue the fine performances they've put in so far. There's little to separate Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Chile in the middle of the pack. Meanwhile, Peru will be very disappointed with their performance so far, as will Bolivia.

Stories of the CONMBEOL qualifying campaign thus far

Peru head coach Juan Reynoso had to declare to the media that he will continue to try to reverse the run of negative results which have started this qualifying campaign, amid pressure from fans and pundits.

Lionel Messi continues to be a key part of this Argentina squad despite his age and his recent move to MLS, having scored 3 goals in 3 games so far.

Brazil will be disappointed to have seen their 22-year win streak in Montevideo brought to an end as Uruguay secured a 2-0 win via goals from Liverpool star Darwin Nunez and CONMEBOL qualifying top scorer Nicolás de la Cruz. A serious injury to their star forward Neymar will have also left the record 5-time World Cup winners distraught.

However, the biggest story of the first four match-weeks has to be Venezuela. A 3-0 victory over Chile has seen them move to fourth in the league table, with two wins, one draw and one loss, having claimed seven points from a possible twelve. This is remarkable considering the crisis-stricken nation only managed 10 points and 3 wins across their entire 18-game qualifying campaign for World Cup 2022 in Qatar, finishing rock bottom of the table in the process.

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