The final round of World Cup qualifying matches in South America is set to get under way this Friday with some games taking on huge importance in the race for a place at Brazil 2014.
Argentina are already qualified, but what of the teams right behind them? Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela sit second to sixth, respectively, all harbouring hopes of reaching next year's World Cup hosted by their overbearing neighbour, Brazil.
So what better time than now to look at a power ranking of South American nations? Instead of simply using the qualification table as an indicator, we are going to do things a little more thoroughly. Three criteria will help rank all South American nations:
- History: How many trophies has each nation won? A World Cup will weigh far more heavily than a Copa America crown.
- Present day: What is the make up of the current squad and how strong do the country look eight months before a ball is kicked at the World Cup?
- Future: Upon reaching a World Cup, how would the country realistically fare?