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Four berths on the line
by Paul Kennedy, October 14th, 2009 7AM

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[WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING] Four more World Cup berths will be decided on Wednesday: two in Europe, one in Concacaf and one in South America, where Uruguay hosts Argentina in a dramatic conclusion to Conmebol's marathon qualifying competition. For a look at the chances of the nine teams in contention ...

SOUTH AMERICA
Uruguay-Argentina is the oldest rivalry in South America, and the winner will take South America's fourth automatic berth at the World Cup. In case of a tie, Argentina will go to the World Cup unless Ecuador wins at Chile by five goals.

Argentina, which has played in every World Cup since failing to make Mexico '70, will only be eliminated from contention if it loses to Uruguay and Ecuador beats Chile, in which case Ecuador returns to the finals for the third straight time.

(The fifth-place team -- Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador or Venezuela with only a mathematical chance -- will meet Concacaf's fourth-place team in a playoff next month.)

Schedule:
Peru vs. Bolivia   
Paraguay vs. Colombia   
Brazil  vs. Venezuela   
Chile vs. Ecuador   
Uruguay vs. Argentina
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
*Brazil 17 9 6 2 33 11 33
*Paraguay 17 10 3 4 24 14 33
*Chile 17 9 3 5 31 22 30
------------------------------------
Argentina 17 7 4 6 22 20 25
------------------------------------
Uruguay 17 6 6 5 28 19 24
------------------------------------
Ecuador 17 6 5 6 22 25 23
Venezuela 17 6 3 8 23 29 21
Colombia 17 5 5 7 12 18 20
Bolivia 17 4 3 10 22 35 15
Peru 17 2 4 11 10 34 10
*Qualifies for 2010 World Cup.

CONCACAF
Costa Rica climbed into third place ahead of Honduras when it beat Trinidad & Tobago, 4-0, on Saturday and the Catrachos fell to the USA, 3-2, at home. The Ticos will clinch a berth in the final with a win over the USA Wednesday in Washington or a Honduras tie or loss at El Salvador. If Honduras beats El Salvador, it will qualify if Costa Rica doesn't win at RFK Stadium.

(The fourth-place team -- Costa Rica or Honduras -- will meet South America's fifth-place team in a playoff.)

Schedule:
El Salvador-Honduras
Trin. & Tobago-Mexico
USA-Costa Rica
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
*USA 9 6 1 2 17 11 19
*Mexico 9 6 0 3 16 10 18
Costa Rica 9 5 0 4 13 13 15
-----------------------------
Honduras 9 4 1 4 16 11 13
-----------------------------
El Salvador 9 2 2 5 9 14 8
Trin. & Tobago 9 1 2 6 8 20 5
*Qualifies for 2010 World Cup.

EUROPE GROUP 2
Switzerland will clinch first place with a win or tie against Israel in Basel on Wednesday. They will finish first if Greece doesn't defeat Luxembourg at home. The Greeks' only chance of winning the group is if they beat Luxembourg and the Swiss lose.

(Second place in Group 2 -- with a berth in the European playoffs -- also remains up for grabs, though the chances of Israel and Latvia are slim.)

Schedule:
Greece vs.  Luxembourg
Switzerland vs. Israel
Latvia vs. Moldova
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
1. Switzerland 9 6 2 1 18 8 20
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. Greece 9 5 2 2 18 9 17
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. Israel 9 4 3 2 20 10 15
4. Latvia 9 4 2 3 15 13 14
5. Luxembourg  9 1 2 6 3 23 5
6. Moldova  9 0 3 6 4 15 3

EUROPE GROUP 3
Slovakia, which blew a chance to clinch the group on Saturday when it lost, 2-0, at home to Slovakia, still controls its own destiny, but it now must win at Poland on Wednesday -- no easy task. The chances of Slovenia losing or tying at San Marino -- Slovakia's other direct route to the World Cup -- are very slim. If Slovakia doesn't win in Poland, Slovakia will win the group on goal difference with a victory at San Marino.

(Second place in Group 2 -- with a berth in the European playoffs -- also remains up for grabs, though the chances of the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland, who meet in the group's other match, depend on Slovakia losing at San Marino.)

Schedule:
Czech Republic vs. Northern Ireland
Poland vs. Slovakia
San Marino vs. Slovenia
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
1. Slovakia  9 6 1 2 21 10 19
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. Slovenia  9 5 2 2 15 4 17
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. Czech Republic 9 4 3 2 17 6 15
4. Northern Ireland  9 4 2 3 13 9 14
5. Poland  9 3 2 4 19 13 11
6. San Marino  9 0 0 9 1 44 0



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