Brazil, Argentina win in tight World Cup qualifiers (South American Roundup)

June 7th, 2009 - 5:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Buenos Aires/Montevideo, June 7 (DPA) The South American World Cup qualifiers got very tight at the top, as Chile downed Paraguay, Brazil thrashed Uruguay, and Argentina got a difficult home win against Colombia.
Brazil trounced Uruguay 4-0 in their first win in 33 years in Montevideo, and they benefited from Paraguay’s 2-0 defeat to Chile in Asuncion to go top of the qualifiers table, Saturday. Brazil have 24 points from 14 games, the same as previous leaders Paraguay but with a better goal difference.

Chile’s win leave them third with 23 points, while Argentina stand fourth one point behind. Uruguay are fifth with 17 points, while Venezuela rose to sixth on 16 points with a valuable 1-0 against Bolivia at high altitude in La Paz.

In South America’s World Cup qualifiers, each of the 10 sides plays each 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.

Brazilian coach Carlos Dunga was happy with a 4-0 win that did no justice to Uruguay’s many chances.

“The key to the win was to play football in a functional way,” he said.

Brazil made the most of an inexplicable mistake from rival keeper Sebastian Viera just 12 minutes into the game. Dani Alves tried a very long-distance shot, the ball bounced in front of Viera and he failed to manage what seemed like a very easy save.

In the 36th minute, Juan built on a cross from the right from Elano to head the ball and make things 2-0.

In the second half, Elano set up Luis Fabiano, and the Sevilla striker’s strong right-foot shot went into the top near corner of the goal in the 51st minute.

In the 73rd minute, Kaka was awarded a penalty after being brought down in the box, and converted to make the score 4-0.

Argentina beat Colombia 1-0 in Buenos Aires despite putting on a lacklustre performance.

“The goal was to win and we achieved it,” said Lionel Messi. “The goal is to qualify for the World Cup.”

Coach Diego Maradona said the win was “wonderful” and praised his men’s “determination” against a difficult rival.

A lone goal from centre-back Daniel “Cata” Diaz off a corner kick in the 55th minute was enough to put Argentina back in the race for a World Cup spot after a humiliating 6-1 thrashing in Bolivia.

Messi - arguably the world’s best player - hit the crossbar from a freekick in the 52nd minute but was otherwise far from the level he has displayed at Barcelona, which has made him a solid candidate for the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or awards this year.

Chile confirmed their good form with a 2-0 win against Paraguay, who have only got one point from their last three games. Matias Fernandez put the visitors ahead in Asuncion just 13 minutes into the game, while a header from Humberto Suazo set the definitive 2-0 in the 52nd minute.

Elsewhere, Venezuela stunned Bolivia with a valuable 1-0 win at high altitude in La Paz that puts them back in the race towards the 2010 World Cup.

The lone goal of the match came from Luis Manuel Seijas after 31 minutes of play. His shot was deflected by a defender and keeper Carlos Arias failed to contain it.

La Paz’s altitude of over 3,600 metres above sea level is always a handicap for visiting teams, but Venezuela managed to get past the hurdle and now stand just three points off the positions that would give access to a World Cup berth if the qualifiers were to finish now.

Peru were set to host Ecuador Sunday in Lima to close off the 13th round of the qualifiers. The 14th round was set to be played Wednesday, with the games Ecuador-Argentina, Colombia-Peru, Chile-Bolivia and Venezuela-Uruguay, as well as highlight Brazil-Paraguay.

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