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 By Tim Vickery

The state of play in South America's World Cup qualifiers

Gab Marcotti explains why FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams has its benefits, but not everyone agrees.
Gary Medel v Argentina
Argentina hosts Chile on Thursday in what could be one of the more decisive ties in this World Cup qualifying campaign.

There are no real prizes for coming first. Or second for that matter. World Cup qualification in South America is all about crossing the line and making it through to Russia.

The first four teams qualify automatically for next year's tournament, with the side finishing fifth having to play off against opponents from Oceania. And as the competition moves into the final third, only Brazil are really sitting pretty.

Those six consecutive wins under new coach Tite have carried Brazil to 27 points. In...

Bolivia file CAS appeal over forfeited World Cup qualifying matches

Nelson Cabrera Bolivia
Bolivia lost their appeal before FIFA for fielding Nelson Cabrera and now have appealed to the CAS.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The Court of Arbitration for Sport says the Bolivian football federation appealed against FIFA orders to forfeit two World Cup qualifying matches for fielding an ineligible player.

The CAS detailed a timetable on Thursday that should take several months to reach a verdict.

FIFA imposed 3-0 losses against Bolivia for a 0-0 draw with Chile and 2-0 win over Peru last September.

The amended results have lifted Chile over Argentina into an automatic World Cup qualifying place...

FIFA rejects Bolivia appeal against World Cup match forfeits

Nelson Cabrera Bolivia
Bolivia lost their appeal before FIFA for fielding Nelson Cabrera.

 FIFA has rejected the Bolivian football federation's appeal against forfeiting two World Cup qualifying matches for fielding an ineligible player.

FIFA says its appeal committee ruling confirms Bolivia's 0-0 draw with Chile and 2-0 win over Peru last September are 3-0 losses by default.

Bolivia fielded Paraguay-born defender Nelson Cabrera as a late substitute in both matches when he was not qualified by FIFA rules to represent his adopted country.

Even without the sanctions, Bolivia would...

 By Tim Vickery

48-team World Cup could negatively affect South American qualifying

Gab Marcotti and Shaka Hislop join Outside the Lines and have their say at FIFA expanding the World Cup to 48 teams.
Gab Marcotti joins Outside the Lines to discuss the reasons behind moving the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
Shaka Hislop expresses his disapproval at FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams.

On the website of CONMEBOL, the South American Confederation, there is an article entitled: "From 13 teams in Uruguay 1930 to 48 in the 2026 World Cup."

It is a neat way of reminding everyone of one of the great trump cards of the South American game: its fabulous tradition. This is the continent where the World Cup began and which has won nine versions of the tournament, divided between Brazil (five wins) and Uruguay and Argentina (two apiece).

The big three has provided Barcelona with the "MSN"...