By FRANCO PANIZO
The fifth round of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying is set to take place this weekend, and Leo Messi and Argentina are hoping this is the round where they claim first place in the standings.
Argentina will look to overtake Uruguay in the table this weekend, but the albiceleste will need a result at home against Ecuador in arguably the biggest match of the fifth round of Conmebol World Cup qualifying.
Ecuador come in having won two of their first three games, and they will try to jump up from their fourth-place position with a result against head coach Alejandro Sabello's stacked side that includes the likes of Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria.
Here's a look at the rest of the Round 5 matches in Conmebol World Cup qualifying:
VENEZUELA ATTEMPTS TO CONTINUE STRONG START VS. URUGUAY
Venezuela have enjoyed a strong start to World Cup qualifying and the third-place Vinotinto is dreaming of taking part of the World Cup in 2014. But the Venezuelans have a tough task on Saturday, as they travel to take on first-place Uruguay in Montevideo. If Venezuela is hoping to get a result, centerback Oswaldo Viscarrondo will need to continue to be a rock at the back, especially since he will likely face the leading Conmebol qualifying goal-scorer in Luis Suarez.
PERU LOOKING TO END SNAP LOSING STREAK
Slow starts to World Cup qualifying have been the norm for Peru in recent history, and they will need a result at home against Colombia on Sunday to avoid that this cycle. Peru is currently second-to-last in the standings, and a win is necessary to avoid falling further behind the rest of the pack. Making things more difficult for Peru manager Sergio Markarian is that he has a rash of injuries to deal with (including knocks to Claudio Pizarro and Juan Manuel Vargas), and that could open the door for in-form striker Radamel Falacao and the Colombians to pull out a result in Lima.
LAST-PLACE BOLIVIA AIMS TO TOP CHILE
Bolivia's chances of reaching the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are currently not looking good, but a win versus Chile on Saturday would change that. Last-place Bolivia have just one point from four matches, and a victory at home in La Paz will be necessary in order to keep themselves within striking distance of a qualifying spot. Chile (currently in fifth place) should prove a tough challenge for Bolivia, however, due to them boasting attacking talents like Humberto Suazo and Alexis Sanchez.
Which of these matches are you most looking forward to? Expecting Messi and Argentina to beat Ecuador? Do you see Venezuela pulling out a result in Uruguay?
Share your thoughts below.