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Two games in the span of one week make it possible for the South American national teams to utilize European-based players. Many return to Europe immediately after Saturday and Sunday's games for pre-season training and to prepare for U.S. tours with their club teams. Early parity has made this process highly entertaining. Only six points separate eight of the nine teams.
Ecuador-Bolivia (Quito) June 5
In the second of two straight home games, Ecuador looks to take six points from these two matches. Unfortunately for Bolivia, the Ecuadoran national team looked very solid against Colombia. Bolivia will be without defender Juan Manuel Peña (red card against Paraguay) and Luis Hector Cristaldo (accumulation of yellow cards).
Argentina-Paraguay (Buenos Aires) June 6
Both teams are coming off losses on the road. Paraguay must continue their road trip visiting chilly Buenos Aires. Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa continues to be criticized for his choice of lineups and substitutions. However, Argentina still is only one point behind Brasil without any real danger of not qualifying.
Peru-Venezuela (Lima) June 6
Look for the National Stadium in Lima to be filled to capacity, after a monumenal victory in Montevideo. The Peruvians are riding on a high level of confidence, especially after scoring three goals on the road. Venezuela wants to prove that their early success was not a fluke.
Colombia-Uruguay (Barranquilla) June 6
One of the two teams that have hit rock bottom will try to pull itself up. Often playing in front of the homeside's fans can become a disadvantage, as the pressure to score and score early can have an adverse effect on the team performance. Colombia really has more to lose, as it regularly has been one of South America's most successful teams. Another loss and the dream of qualifying for the World Cup becomes more out of reach.
Chile-Brasil (Santiago) June 6
Again, the last match of the round is the most attractive. Chile knows it will have to play a flawless game in order to beat the 2002 World Cup champions. Head Coach Juvenal Olmos has decided to play with 4 defenders, instead of 3 as usually done by the home team. Olmos said playing with three would be almost suicidal against the five-time champs.
For complete standings and a review of past matches, see the CONMEBOL homepage.
Ecuador 3, Bolivia 2: Bolivia comes back from 0-3 to nearly pull off a tie.
Argentina 0, Paraguay 0: One point from 2 games has the Argentines scratching their heads.
Colombia 5, Uruguay 0: The Colombian offense explodes, while Uruguay struggles to find a way out of this mess.
Peru 0, Venezuela 0: Another uneventful tie.
Brasil 1, Chile 1: Late penalty call allows Chile to gain a tie and celebrate in the streets of Santiago.