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CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying preview: Last call for Russia

Brazil Global Tour - Brazil v Argentina

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 09: Lionel Messi of Argentina leaves the field during the Brazil Global Tour match between Brazil and Argentina at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 9, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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A World Cup without Lionel Messi is a very real possibility, but Argentina is not the lone big name in danger of missing out on Russia.

Tuesday brings the final five matches of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, and only Brazil and -- to a lesser extent -- Uruguay can feel confident about their places in this summer’s big dance.

[ MORE: USMNT scenarios for final day of WCQ ]

The penultimate match day saw Argentina draw at home to Peru amongst a number of interesting score lines.

Table heading into Matchday 18 Brazil (qualified) -- 38 pts, +27 GD, 38 goals Uruguay (clinched at least 5th) -- 28, +10, 28 goals Chile -- 26, +2, 26 goals Colombia -- 26, +2, 20 goals Peru -- 25, +1, 26 goals Argentina -- 25, +1, 16 goals Paraguay -- 24, -5, 19 goals Ecuador (eliminated) -- 20, -1, 25 goals Bolivia (eliminated) -- 14, -20, 14 goals Venezuela (eliminated) -- 9,-17, 18 goals

Matchday 18 Brazil vs. Chile Ecuador vs. Argentina Paraguay vs. Venezuela Peru vs. Colombia Uruguay vs. Bolivia

The one to circle is Peru vs. Colombia, the only match where both sides are alive on the Road to Russia.

Chile’s trip to Brazil is troubling because even the hosts’ B Team is powerful and no player will risk not impressing with a place in Russia on the line.

Argentina’s visit to Ecuador could be what’s best for Messi and Co., as La Tricolor may still be reeling from elimination on Matchday 17.

Paraguay is home to Venezuela and Uruguay to Bolivia, with both feeling confident about their chances.

The predictions

Chile cannot get past Brazil, but earns a good-looking point

Messi drives Argentina over the line with a win at Ecuador.

Paraguay edges Venezuela

Peru and Colombia split the spoils in Lima.

Uruguay handles Bolivia.

World Cup berths for Uruguay, Argentina, and Colombia. Paraguay finishes fifth an earns a playoff date with New Zealand. Peru and Chile are left out of the 2018 World Cup.

Follow @NicholasMendola