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Uruguay vs Argentina - 4 things to watch out for in the Clasico del Rio de la Plata | 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Argentina and Uruguay will clash for the 195th time on Friday.
Argentina and Uruguay will clash for the 195th time on Friday.
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST

Uruguay will host Argentina at the Estadio Campeon del Siglo in Montevideo on Friday in a blockbuster clash in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Famously known as the 'Clasico del Rio de la Plata', this is the most contested derby in international football history, with 194 official clashes.

Argentina have obviously been the dominant force with 89 wins, including a 3-0 victory last month. The victory continued their unbeaten run in the campaign, and kept them in second place, behind Brazil, with 25 points. La Celeste, meanwhile, are down in fifth, and must pick up wins to ensure a direct ticket to Qatar.

However, they haven't beaten Argentina in their last six clashes, and were also dealt an injury blow with Edinson Cavani ruled out. Nevertheless, we should have a pulsating contest on our hands. On that note, here are the four storylines you should keep an eye on during the mouthwatering game:


#4 Pressure firmly on Uruguay

Uruguay lost by three-goal margins twice in succession last month.
Uruguay lost by three-goal margins twice in succession last month.

Uruguay are firmly under the pump here. With only four wins from 12 qualifying games so far, they've managed to rack up just 16 points. That keeps them in fifth spot, one below the direct qualification zone.

If the campaign were to end now, La Celeste would be heading into the inter-confederation play-offs. That would be a two-legged affair against a team from either the AFC, CONCACAF or OFC zone.

Oscar Tabarez's side are no strangers to it, though, having beaten Jordan 5-0 on aggregate at that stage to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. However, a direct place would spare them the additional challenge.

Uruguay end the international break with one point out of a possible nine.- Uruguay 0-0 Colombia - Argentina 3-0 Uruguay - Brazil 4-1 Uruguay La Celeste drop to 5th spot in the World Cup qualifiers.16 points from 12 games. Extremely worrying. https://t.co/ePm2fPBh10

The side are winless in three consecutive qualifying games, including back-to-back routs against Argentina and Brazil last month. They conceded a combined seven goals against the two continental heavyweights.

Chile are breathing right down their necks. So another defeat for Uruguay on Friday would allow the 2015 Copa America winners to close the gap on them in the standings.


#3 Argentina's unbeaten run on the line

Argentina haven't lost a game in over two years.
Argentina haven't lost a game in over two years.

Argentina are the only other team besides Brazil in South America who're yet to lose in the ongoing FIFA World Cup qualifiers. In fact, they haven't lost a game since July 2019, a run that now stretches to 25 games in all competitions.

Needless to say, it's quite a record, but can Albiceleste sustain that against an Uruguay side in a must-win clash?

Lionel Scaloni is the second coach in the history of Argentina's national team to go 25 games unbeaten (W16 D9) in all competitions, after Alfio Basile per @OptaJavier.#WCQ #ARGPER

One thing going for Lionel Scaloni's side is that they haven't lost to their eastern neighbours in eight years. Their last loss was a 3-2 reverse in a FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier eight years ago, which is also Uruguay's only victory over Argentina in the last 24 years.

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Edited by Bhargav

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