The Fire may be sitting at home enjoying their bye week this Labor Day weekend, but the rest of the soccer world isn't slowing down one bit. Apart from featuring a few solid MLS matchups, this weekend is packed with some absolutely huge World Cup Qualifiers.
So, without a Fire preview to do, I thought that I'd go through some of the weekend's top matches, give them a little preview and maybe even share a prediction or two...
**Argentina vs. Brazil (7:30 p.m. on ???? -- full preview [here](http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=230068&cc=5901))**
Oh, what can I say about this one? I mean, I could wax poetic for a thousand words about this matchup but you guys already know the deal. I mean, it's Argentina-Brazil. It's a huge rivalry and -this time - it has huge importance, as hosts Argentina find themselves in 4th place (the lowest automatic qualifying spot...) and on the brink of failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1970.
From my point of view, there is only one thing wrong with this match: it's not on TV in the States. Frankly, I'm pissed. I mean, it's not often one gets the chance to see two sides this packed with star-power (Messi? Kaka? Aguero? Robinho? I could go on...) go against each other in a match this important (again, Argentina is fighting for their World Cup life...) and we can't watch it on TV. That sucks.
Ok, enough with my complaining, it's time I make a prediction. I'm going to say that a Maradona led Argentina edges out Brazil by a score of 2-1. Messi gets both goals for Argentina and Luis Fabiano scores for Brazil.
**UPDATE -- Argentina vs. Brazil is available to watch on pay per view. Comcast is offering the game for $35, but I'm not sure I'm willing to fork over that kind of cash when (as Fireman451 pointed out) you can just catch the game online. We'll see what happens though...** **U.S. vs. El Salvador (7 p.m. on ESPN Classic/TeleFutura -- full preview [here](http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=673145&sec=us&root=us&cc=5901))**
After falling to Mexico 2-1 in their last Qualifier on August 12th, the 3rd place U.S. team gets back into qualifying against 5th place El Salvador at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City. Don't discount the importance of this match for the U.S - a loss could put them in great danger of missing out on one of CONCACAF'S three automatic spots in the World Cup. I'll be checking this one out for sure and I'll go ahead and predict an American victory. I think the Nats will come out ready to play and they will dispatch the overmatched Salvadorans by a score of 2-0. Landon Donovan and Charlie Davies will get the goals.
**Costa Rica vs. Mexico (9 p.m on Telemundo)**
The clash at Estadio Saprissa in Costa Rica is another big one in CONCACAF. Mexico is currently in 4th place in the group with 9 points (1 point and 1 spot behind the automatic qualification spot of 3rd) and it will be very tough for 'El Tri' to get a crucial point from the 1st place Costa Ricans - who have won every home match in the final qualifying round. I'll predict that Estadio Saprissa turns out to be too much for Cuauhtemoc Blanco and his teammates and that the 'Ticos' will walk away 1-0 winners.
**Portugal vs. Denmark (12:55 p.m. on Setanta)**
This is the most intriguing European qualifier of the weekend. As things stand, 3rd place Portugal is currently out of the World Cup and 4 points behind second place Hungary. Denmark is in 1st place in the group and they have the benefit of taking on the Cristiano Ronaldo led Portuguese at home. Despite the standings though, I'm going to go ahead and predict a victory for Portugal. They have way too much talent to have their World Cup hopes end now and I think Ronaldo will put the team on his back and lead them to a 1-0 victory in Copenhagen.
I'm interested to hear how you think all of these matches (and any others that interest you...) will turn out this weekend. So, share any predictions you may have and we'll see who comes closest with their guesses.
Don't like a day without Fire coverage? Well, don't worry. I'll be back soon enough with some more info/opinions on the team. Otherwise, hope your Labor Day weekend gets off to a good start today/tonight and that you guys enjoy all the soccer action this weekend.