During the 18-round campaign, teams face lung-busting altitude, scorching tropical heat, long-haul flights between many cities and passionate fans that make stadiums such as Argentina's La Bombonera or Brazil's Maracana among the world's most inhospitable venues for opponents.
Universidad Catolica midfielder Jose Carabali also earned his first national call-up for the matches in Buenos Aires on October 8 and Quito five days later.
Xinhua looks at some of the major talking points ahead of Thursday's opening day of fixtures in CONMEBOL's road to Qatar 2022.
Edin Dzeko wasted a good opportunity in the 21st minute as the hitman sprung the offside trap but ballooned it over the bar.
"He is now playing more regularly and doesn't have any injury concerns which bodes well for us."
On the Shandong side, Yang Hengyu contributed 16 points, while Qiao Yanzi added 12.
Stefanos Tsitsipas made history for his country on Monday as the No.5 seed became the first Greek player in history to reach French Open last eight, after seeing off Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6 (9), 6-2 in a 2:26 victory.
SHANGHAI, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese men's national football team has started a six-day training camp here on Sunday during the break of the Chinese Super League (CSL).
Their Canadian forward Christophe Lalancette completed his hat-trick in the final stretch to guide his team to a respected victory and the first place in the rankings, 4-5.
Following is the Uruguay squad:
"Players executed well even though we pulled away. I'm satisfied with their fighting spirit. But we have to improve on some details on both ends," Beijing coach Zhang Yunsong explained.