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Unusually, the final night of European World Cup qualifying is a bit of a damp affair. Most of the groups have been decided, with by and large just the second-places, and play-off berths, up for grabs.
Undeterred, we shall keep you up to date with what’s going on in Europe as a prelude to the really serious business of the night … the decisive match in Montevideo, where Argentina are playing for their lives against Uruguay.
Here at Reuters Soccer Blog we particularly welcome comments, so please give us your views on how things are going as the actions progresses.
The above picture was the defining image of Argentina’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Peru in the rain on Saturday, and perhaps Diego Maradona’s tenure as national team coach to date.
For many in Argentina, Maradona’s reactions are indicative of an approach to the job that is too emotional.
And so to Ecuador.
With three stages, bonus points and a two-leg final, Ecuador’s championship is a brave attempt to keep as many teams in with a chance of winning the title for as long as possible. In fact, getting knocked out takes some doing.
This is the fourth instalment in our look at the wacky world of Latin American championships having started with an introduction and then analysed Peru’s interesting league system and moved on to Uruguay.
Today, we’ve reached Mexico and it’s a goody.
Mexico has some of the finest stadiums in Latin America and pays some of the highest wages. It is also notable for having a system in which the championship’s best team repeatedly fails to win the title.
The Uruguayan championship is also a strange beast, short on crowds but big on maths. It is divided into two stages, the Apertura and Clausura, but also features another table, called the Anual, which consists of the standings for the two stages combined (in other words, a conventional league table).