Table-topping Argentina face a tough task against Colombia as they look to keep their impressive qualification form going on Friday.
Alejandro Sabella’s side have been in dominant form as they look to secure a spot in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, losing just once in eleven games, a 1-0 reversal in Venezuela.
Since that defeat in October 2011, Argentina have gone on to live up to their billing as favourites to win the CONMEBOL qualifying section with six victories – including a 2-1 success in Colombia – and three draws.
The two-time World Cup winners now sit comfortably top of the group, four points clear of second place Ecuador and five above Colombia, although Jose Pekerman’s charges do have a game in hand on the leaders.
Colombia will also be buoyed by the start they made to the sides’ previous fixture, leading 1-0 at half-time only to be undone by two late second-half goals from Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi.
Messi has recently been added to the squad for the games against Colombia and Ecuador despite an ongoing hamstring injury and the captain is likely to lead his country out in Buenos Aires on Friday.
Colombia, who have not qualified for a World Cup since France 1998, can move into second place with a win provided Ecuador fail to beat Peru, and have been in impressive recent form.
They have lost only one of their last five qualifiers, scoring 14 goals and conceding just twice in the process.
In their campaign overall, Columbia have lost three times in ten matches, including a 1-0 defeat last time out against Venezuela, and will need the firepower of Radamel Falcao and Jackson Martinez if they are to get anything out of the game against Argentina.
Falcao – who last month signed for AS Monaco from Atletico Madrid in a deal thought to be worth around 58 million euros – has 13 goals in 34 international appearances while Porto
striker Martinez is in good form, having notched three times in the last five qualifiers.