An unfortunate turn of events is taking place in Venezuela as almost every player of their national soccer team has fallen ill to a nasty stomach virus. The timing could not have been worse as Venezuelan manager Cesar Farias is scrambling to make adjustments before today’s World Cup Qualifying match against Chile.
Out of the 24 players on the Venezuelan team, 20 were not able to practice on Wednesday because of the stomach bug. An exact cause has not been determined, but food poisoning is being labeled as the primary suspect.
"They didn’t have a good night and they weren’t able to train well," Farias said.
Venezuela currently sits in sixth place in the World Cup qualifying table for CONMEBOL. If they want to qualify for their first ever World Cup, they must defeat Chile tonight; a tall order with 20 of their players sickened by a stomach bug.
If Venezuela does not get a result tonight, they might as well kiss their World Cup dreams goodbye. The top four teams of CONMEBOL automatically qualify while the fifth-place team heads to a playoff match against North America’s soccer confederation, CONCACAF. Venezuela is the only South American country to have never qualified for a World Cup.