Club football around the world is set to take a backseat with players set for national team duties. The World Cup 2018 qualifiers is getting underway, and massive South American teams are set to clash. Among them, Uruguay will host Argentina at Estadio Centenario on Thursday.
Argentina are one of the best teams in South America, with talent in abundance. They have some of the biggest names in world football, including Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria.
Despite such players in their ranks, Argentina have not been able to deliver as expected. As a result, they remain in fifth position in the World Cup 2018 South America qualifiers table.
With only top four teams set to gain automatic entry into World Cup 2018, the fifth team will have to win in the playoffs to qualify for the quadrennial event. Thus, this match is huge for Argentina, who will be looking to beat Uruguay at all costs and increase their chances of qualifying directly.
Beating Uruguay will push them higher in the table, but a loss will only complicate matters for the giants of world football.
Argentina players understand what is on the line, so one can expect their big names to come out all guns blazing. This will be Jorge Sampaoli's first major test as Argentina coach after he was roped in for the top position a few months ago, and he needs to get the best out of his players.
Uruguay, on the other hand, are placed higher on the qualifiers' table — at third position. If they manage to beat Argentina, Uruguay will further strengthen their position.
For that to happen, their talismanic forward Luis Suarez has to be fit to play. He has not featured for Barcelona in the last few matches due to knee injury.
There is a serious need for Uruguay to play some solid football at the back, too: It seems to be a mjor problem as they have conceded nine goals in the last three matches. They have lost their last three matches — against Chile, Brazil and Peru.
Things do not look too great for Oscar Tabarez's side, considering their form. On the other hand, hungry Argentina have the ammunitions to score against any team. Can Uruguay turn the tables around when they face Argentina?
Squads: Uruguay - Fernando Muslera, M. Silva, Martin Campana, Pereira, Diego Godin, Martin Caceres, Jose Maria Gimenez, Sebastian Coates, G. Silva, Lemos, Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Nicolas Lodeiro, C. Sanchez, Corujo, Vecino, Nandez, Laxalt, Valverde, Edinson Cavani, Stuani, Diego Rolan, Fernandez, Pereiro, Luis Suarez
Argentina: Sergio Romero, Nahuel Guzman, Geronimo Rulli, Javier Mascherano, Nicolas Otamendi, Federico Fazio, Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Pareja, Javier Pinola, Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Augusto Fernandez, Leandro Paredes, Guido Pizarro, Angel Di Maria, Marcos Acuna, Javier Pastore, Emiliano Rigoni, Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero, Mauro Icardi, Joaquin Correa, Dario Benedetto, Lautaro Acosta
Where to watch live
Date: 31 August
Venue: Estadio Centenario in Uruguay
Time: 8 pm local time, 7 pm ET, 12 am BST and 4:30 am IST (Friday)
TV listings: India : Sony Ten 2. UK: N/A. US: BeIN Sports. Argentina: Tyc Sports Argentina. Uruguay: VTV Uruguay. Africa: SuperSport3 Africa.