MONTEVIDEO • Chile face a must-win showdown with fierce regional rivals Peru today, as the South American champions aim to make up lost ground after a stumbling start to their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.
After a 3-0 thrashing by Ecuador in Quito last Thursday, the Chileans limped back to Santiago a full five points adrift of the qualifying places in South America's marathon battle for berths in Russia.
Chile, the dominant force in South America over the past two years with back-to-back Copa America title wins last year and this year, still have plenty of time to turn their campaign around with nine games left.
But anything less than a win against struggling Peru today risks leaving them with a mountain to climb if they are to qualify for a third consecutive World Cup.
"We need to score goals, and we need to win because we're playing at home. Winning is the only option for us now," said Chile midfielder Marcelo Diaz.
Elsewhere, Brazil will aim to maintain their sparkling form under coach Tite, still buoyant after a 5-0 drubbing of Bolivia last week.
They travel to winless Venezuela today and on form should have no problem picking up another three points to keep the pressure firmly on group leaders Uruguay, who face an awkward away game against fourth-placed Colombia.
Argentina will aim to get back to winning ways after being held to a second consecutive draw in last Thursday's 2-2 battle with Peru.
They host Paraguay in Cordoba but will be without injured captain Lionel Messi once more.
ARGENTINA V PARAGUAY
Singtel TV Ch110, tomorrow, 7.25am
VENEZUELA V BRAZIL
Ch109, tomorrow, 8.25am