2010 World Cup: Brazil win, Argentina stumble in qualifiers

June 11th, 2009 - 2:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Rio de Janeiro/Quito, June 11 (DPA) Brazil sealed their recovery in the South American qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with a 2-1 comeback win against Paraguay while archrivals Argentina stumbled and lost 0-2 to Ecuador.
Elsewhere Wednesday, Chile confirmed their great run of form with a 4-0 win over Bolivia, Venezuela and Uruguay drew 2-2 in a result that was not good for the advancement hopes of either team, and Colombia beat Peru 1-0 to just keep up their remote chances of playing in the World Cup.

The 14th round of the South American qualifiers left Brazil at the top of the table with 27 points. Chile stood second, one point behind, while Paraguay have 24 points at third place.

In fourth was Argentina with 22 points while Ecuador had 20 to hold the last position that gives access to the World Cup. Uruguay followed with 18 points to Venezuela’s and Colombia’s 17.

In a fast-paced match in the north-eastern Brazilian city of Recife, Paraguay pulled ahead in the 26th minute against the hosts when a free kick from striker Salvador Cabanas was deflected by Elano and got past a disoriented Julio Cesar.

Brazil recovered from the setback quickly, however. Four minutes before half-time, Robinho - possibly the best Brazilian player of the night - managed to find the net with a difficult shot off a precise cross from Dani Alves.

Four minutes after the break, Nilmar made it 2-1. He was imprecise as he bounced the ball off his chest, but he got a second chance from the resulting rebound off a defender and did not miss that.

Kaka defined the result as “a most important win.”

At Quito in Ecuador, Argentina suffered another serious blow in the qualifiers despite playing well and having its chances in the first half. In fact, Argentine-born keeper Marcelo Elizaga contained a penalty shot from Carlos Tevez in the 28th minute.

In the second half, the exhaustion that plagues visiting teams because of the Ecuadorean capital’s high altitude caught up with the side coached by Diego Maradona. Indeed, Argentina had already famously crashed at high altitude 6-2 against Bolivia in La Paz in April.

The Ecuadorean rush in the second half was, therefore, hardly surprising. A powerful long-distance effort from Walter Ayovi found the net and put the hosts ahead in the 71st minute while Pablo Palacios made the most of a defensive mistake to bring the score to 2-0 six minutes from the end of the game.

“Football is like that,” Maradona said. “When you spare rivals, you end up letting goals in your end. “Ecuador could not do practically anything, but they took away a gift from football.”

Argentina’s next game is scheduled in September against no less than Brazil in Buenos Aires. A defeat would leave both Maradona and his men on a tightrope.

Meanwhile, Chile’s thrashing of Bolivia put them in second place in the standings.

A header from Jean Beausejour opened the scoring two minutes before half-time in Santiago. In the second half, a free kick from Marco Estrada made things 2-0 in the 73rd minute, and a brace from Alexis Sanchez in the 77th and the 89th minutes added a punch to Chile’s performance.

“Chile’s going to the World Cup!” thrilled fans shouted from the stands of Santiago’s Estadio Nacional.

In the Venezuelan city of Puerto Ordaz, the hosts pulled ahead eight minutes into the game with a goal from striker Giancarlo Maldonado. However, Uruguay turned things around with a goal from Luis Suarez in the 60th minute and another from Diego Forlan 11 minutes later.

The visitors’ joy did not last as Venezuelan defender Jose Manuel Rey restored equality in the 74th minute with a free kick.

Colombia’s Radamel Falcao Garcia scored the lone goal in the match against Peru in the 26th minute in the Colombian city of Medellin. However, he wasted several other chances, and the Peruvian side even came close to obtaining a last-minute equalizer.

In South America’s World Cup qualifiers, each of the 10 sides plays all of the other nine teams at home and away. The top four win a place in the event. The fifth-placed team has a chance to advance through a play-off against a team from the North and Central American and Caribbean region.

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