Uruguay v. Argentina
Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009,
Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay
World Cup 2010 Qualifier
Martin Palermo could be the saviour of Argentina after his 92nd-minute winner against Peru moved Argentina into fourth place in South America World Cup qualifications.
Two goals in the span of two minutes saw the match swing wildly back and forth before Argentina finally emerged victorious against Peru in an unrelenting downpour of rain at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires.
Still, Diego Maradona knows that there is another mighty task awaiting his side in Wednesday night's Uruguay vs Argentina match.
With the final match of qualifications looming, it is still mathematically feasible that Argentina could miss qualifying for the World Cup Finals in South Africa. Actually, it is a very realistic threat.
Argentina currently sit fourth in the final direct qualification place with no opportunity to advance in the standings. A loss to Uruguay would mean, at very best, Argentina would have to qualify via a playoff.
Shockingly enough, Lionel Messi has been virtually invisible for Argentina in recent weeks. The little magician, who has been lighting Spain on fire with quality performance after quality performance for Barcelona, has somehow lost his way for Maradona, and if ever was a time to rediscover his form, Wednesday would certainly be it.
Uruguay have done well to claw their way back into contention for fourth place, following up a run of four matches without a win by securing back-to-back victories over Colombia and, more impressively, away battling the high altitude in Ecuador.
Uruguay required last minute drama in order to seal three points against Ecuador. Diego Forlan’s 90th-minute penalty proved the difference to give Uruguay’s hopes of reaching South Africa an injection of astronomical proportions.
The victory shot Uruguay past Ecuador in the standings and sets up a fantastic final meeting against Argentina to decide who advances.
When the two teams met back in October 2008 in Buenos Aires for the first Argentina vs. Uruguay qualifying fixture, it was Argentina who triumphed 2-1, thanks to goals from Messi and Sergio Aguero.
While gut instinct would suggest Argentina to be the stronger side for this reverse Uruguay vs. Argentina match, their performances for the better part of the last year give real reason to doubt their chances.
The Argentinians will have to be very careful, as Uruguay possess a quality team that could very easily post a victory on Wednesday night and put Argentina's qualification in jeopardy. Forlan, in particular, has been labelled as a danger man, and Argentina must ensure that he does not put the game in Uruguay's favour.
All in all, Argentina should do enough on the night, and a draw should see them through to the 2010 FIFA World Cup competition.
Uruguay vs. Argentina Prediction: Uruguay 2 - Argentina 2
Be sure to read our England vs Belarus preview too for the 2010 World Cup.