Mercado goal for Argentina
First team

MERCADO THE ONLY LIKELY STARTER IN HIGH-STAKES SOUTH AMERICAN CLASHES

Banega and Muriel will not start in their respective international fixtures

At 01:30AM Sevilla's South American internationals will fight it out for a place in the Russia World Cup, however, it looks like only Gabriel Mercado will start in for his national side. Both Argentina, with Mercado and Banega in their ranks, and Colombia, with Muriel, look to seal their ticket to the 2018 World Cup away from home, and have no guarantees of doing so even on paper. 

Argentina, who are sixth in the South American qualifiers, need to win in Quito against Ecuador to be able to qualify for the World Cup directly - or at worst, go to the playoffs. Argentina could miss the cut in the event of a draw and will definitely be out of the competition should they lose. In all likelihood, Banega will fall out of the starting eleven that faced Peru last week, though Mercado should keep his place. 

Muriel's Colombia are in better shape, currently fourth (level points with Chile) and a point ahead of Peru and Argentina. With a draw in Lima against Peru, the Colombian squad would guarantee a playoff spot and with a win would pass directly into the World Cup. Muriel is not expected to start and will have to wait and see if his opportunity comes from the bench.

Communication Department