Uruguay vs Argentina in 2011

The Most Intriguing Match of the Summer Will See Old Rivalries Renewed

The sometimes European-centric view of football is that the season draws to a close with the last kick of the Champions League Final in June. We are told that players ‘hit the beach’ and that the only worthy news surrounds the mega transfers of clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester United. But there will be plenty of games coming over the next few months, with a potential thriller headlining at the end of August. That match will see Uruguay come up against old adversaries Argentina in a crucial World Cup 2018 Qualifier.

To say the two nations have a rivalry is something of an understatement. They contested the first ever FIFA World Cup Final in 1930, with Uruguay coming out on top in a fiercely contested match. The neighbours have clashed many times since, including a clutch of Copa America Finals. Of course, the majority of South American football competitions play throughout the European summer and you can catch the latest betting action at williamhill.com. Both Uruguay and Argentina have club representation in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, which are the South American equivalent to the Champions League and Europa League respectively.

The World Cup Qualifier, which takes place on 31st of August in Montevideo, sees both teams in real danger of not making it to the 2018 Finals in Russia. One point separates Uruguay in 3rd place from Argentina in 5th. The top four teams will qualify automatically for a place in Russia, with the team in 5th having to contest a playoff with a qualifier from Oceania. With both Ecuador and Peru just a few points behind in 6th and 7th, World Cup qualification for either side is anything but assured.

Of course, the game will see two teammates, and two of the biggest stars in world football, take to the pitch on opposing sides. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have struck up one of the deadliest partnerships in the history of club football at Barcelona, but friendship will be cast aside for ninety minutes in Montevideo. They are both fiercely passionate about their countries and will be doing everything in their power to make the Finals. Incidentally, the third member of Barcelona’s fabulous attack, Neymar, can put his feet up knowing that his Brazil side has already comfortably qualified for Russia.

The result could be pivotal for either side. If Uruguay suffer a loss they will be drawn back into an uncertain future, with the spectre of that playoff or worse looming over them. A win for Uruguay will see them lead Argentina by four points, a huge gap when you consider that there will only be three games remaining.

These two great footballing nations are only separated by the Uruguay River, which forms a 579km border between the two countries. What unites them is a passionate brand of football, punctuated by the talents of some of the most exciting players in football today. Put simply, Russia 2018 will be poorer of either if these sides fail to make it to the Finals. Keep an eye out for this potentially explosive match at the end of August as two great sides fight it out to dine at the top table with football’s finest once more.