On Thursday night, Brazil and Argentina both lost World Cup qualifying games. It is the second time both of those countries lost in qualifying on the same day. Brazil lost its second straight game and dropped points in a third straight. Argentina lost its first game since losing to Saudi Arabia in the first game of the 2022 World Cup. Moreover, the Albiceleste conceded its first goal since Kylian Mbappe’s hat trick in the World Cup Final.
The massive shift in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying means there is incredible parity in South America. Both Argentina and Brazil are not at major risk of missing out on the World Cup. Argentina remains at the top of the qualifying table with 12 points through five games. Brazil may not be so comfortable in fifth place. After two wins to start qualifying, Brazil has scored two goals and conceded five en route to two losses and a draw.
Six teams from South America will automatically qualify for the World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada. As things stand, those six teams are Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador. The team finishing seventh, which is Paraguay right now, enters an intercontinental playoff.
Still, the results from Thursday open up doors for endless possibilities. With another pivotal slate of games on Tuesday, there is already more to play for in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying in 2026.
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying table
It is still early in the qualifying cycle. In total, each of these teams will play 18 qualifying games. Therefore, it is not even a third of the way through qualifying. Yet, the fact that the top five only have five points of separation is a great sign of how active this competition is. Moreover, three teams are battling for that last guaranteed spot in the World Cup.
Both Chile and Paraguay picked up a red card in their scoreless draw on Thursday. The game was in Santiago, which makes it a good point for Paraguay on the road. Chile, which missed the 2022 World Cup, as did Paraguay, is on the outside looking in on qualifying. However, there are still 13 games to pick up lost points.
The other scoreless draw in matchday five when Venezuela hosted Ecuador is the opposite of the Chile-Paraguay situation. Venezuela has never played in the World Cup, and a great start to qualifying has it on the right track.
Best games of matchday six
Qualifying should ramp up further on Tuesday, Nov. 21. There are five more games, and none carries the importance of Brazil’s game against Argentina. Not only is this a historic rivalry, but these two teams both must respond after a loss in their last fixture.
Elsewhere, each game involves teams on opposite sides of the table except one. Ecuador hosts Chile in a game between two of those teams currently on five points. A win from one of these teams gets it immediately back into the qualifying sections of the table. A loss could spell panic as this marks the one-third mark of qualifying in South America.
Coverage of games is available on Fanatiz. The Brazil-Argentina game is available on US TV via Telemundo, and streaming via ViX.
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