Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images
Both sitting on 22 points through 14 CONMEBOL matches, Ecuador vs. Uruguay is perhaps the pick of the qualifying fixtures this week. Neither will want to finish fifth (and endure a play-off against an Asian nation); they'll want to book their spot in Brazil by holding that fourth spot.
Both will also know that they have difficult fixtures scheduled for their final group-stage match and will be desperate to ensure that they don't drop behind at all here.
Ecuador have been much better defensively than their opponents (conceding eight fewer goals), and they come into this one with an undefeated home record. They held Argentina 1-1 and chalked up big wins against the likes of Colombia and Chile, which suggests they'll be too strong here—especially against a Uruguayan team that they managed to hold 1-1 at home earlier in the year.
Uruguay have a vast array of attacking options, but they don't have the defense capable of shutting down Ecuador, who will be too strong at home in this one.
Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda is looking for passion from his team, as per conmebol.com:
All for this flag. We will be in these two games, October 11 and 15 (vs. Chile), more united than ever. It is important that we value what we have, what we have achieved on a difficult path that has never been easy.
No qualifier has been easy and this one, as I said when I arrived (to Ecuador in 2010), would be intense also.
Prediction: Ecuador 3-1 Uruguay