Hilariously, some Auckland based media, especially Mediaworks, are ramping it up; calling on this game to be played at Eden Park. Especially if Messi is to be involved, because he’s just like Roger Federer.
You have to wonder what Sergio Agüero and Ángel Di María, to name a couple, might think of that.
Wellington: FIFA Intercontinental play-off. NZ v one of 8 potential teams from South America.
Anyway, that won’t happen so it’s time to look at those 8 potential teams. Strike out Brazil; they are through. And Bolivia and the country football forgot, Venezuela, are out. At least there’s no away leg in La Paz.
They are second at the moment so, in theory, should be safe from the big trip. Here is James David Rodríguez Rubio, who likes to be known as James. Jimmy was arguably the individual star of the 2014 World Cup (he certainly added a lot more than Messi) and would spearhead their attraction.
Apparently Davinson Sánchez can play too, although defenders aren’t as sexy.
This is a solid era for Colombian football. Their Quarter-Final appearance in Brazil 2014 was their best yet.
For so long they were on the outer, arrived at USA in 94 with the poisonous Dark Horses moniker and things didn’t go so well.
And with the likes of Godin and Periera in defence you have that ruthless cynicism in defence that has defined two time winners Uruguay football for close on a century.
Fun Fact. Uruguay has roughly a million fewer people than New Zealand.
According to Sam Malcolmson, see above, Chile aren’t good enough to meet Eden Park’s lofty standards.
The current Copa Americana champions, and 2017 Confederations Cup finalists have some pretty recent pedigree. There is top level sulker Alexis Sanchez. It is unknown if he will take his own plane and dogs with him.
The midfield is built around Arturo Vidal; formerly of Bayer Leverkusen and Juventus; now playing for Bayern Munich. Those are some big clubs.
They also have the counter argument to Nominative determinism in terms of keeper (and skipper) Claudio Bravo.
Contrary to popular belief this is not a one man side. The two-time World Cup winners and five time finalists also possess the likes of Agüero, Di María, Mascherano and an array of other players who we normally see playing on TV in the Champions League.
These are the big boys, and they have been in fifth place on the table for a while now. But to score only 15 goals in 15 games with that talent?
Like Uruguay their remaining qualification fixtures are against side below them in the table. You would expect them to at least stay the same, if not move up a place.
The means that Peru, who have an elevated position due to Bolivia fielding an ineligible player, traditional rivals Paraguay and Ecuador are unlikely to move into that fifth spot, which is a shame because everyone would’ve wanted an excuse to put this on high rotation during November.