Paraguay keep World Cup course; Brazil, Argentina struggle

October 16th, 2008 - 1:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Rio de Janeiro/Santiago, Oct 16 (DPA) Brazil and Argentina failed to register wins in the South American qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa while Paraguay got three points and remained comfortably at the top of the table.Brazil drew 0-0 with Colombia Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, and Argentina lost 0-1 to Chile in Santiago while Paraguay beat Peru 1-0 in Asuncion, and Venezuela downed the up-and-coming Ecuador 3-1 at home in Puerto La Cruz.

As a result, Paraguay have 23 points from 10 games with Brazil trailing on 17. Argentina and Chile are third with 16 points, followed by Uruguay on 13.

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 World Cup. The fifth-place team has a chance to advance through a playoff against a representative of the North, Central American and Caribbean region.

Brazil were held to a lacklustre goalless draw by Colombia. Kaka and Robinho were powerless to break through the Colombian defence although it was Brazil that had the best chances in the game.

Spectators at the Maracana stadium were at best bored by their team’s poor performance, and they devoted substantial booing and even insults to coach Carlos Dunga and his men, particularly to demand Dunga’s exit.

The match was Brazil’s third-consecutive home game without a win and also without scoring. Moreover, they replicated their performance last month when a resounding 3-0 win in Chile was followed by a disappointing goalless draw against 10-man Bolivia in Rio de Janeiro.

On Sunday, Brazil thrashed Venezuela 4-0 away, but they once again failed to follow up on the good performance on home ground.

Chile scored a resounding 1-0 win against Argentina to establish solid credentials to reach the World Cup. Fabian Orellana scored the only goal in Santiago in the 35th minute. Chile had all the clear scoring chances, and Argentina played poorly despite fielding superstars Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.

With a tireless, well-rounded team effort and great midfield work from Matias Fernandez, Chile at all times appeared in command.

“They were better than us, and they beat us deservedly,” Argentine coach Alfio Basile said.

He noted that “everything worked out” for Chile, and he could only go “weep in church” about the poor performance.

Chile’s Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa said he was proud of his men.

“Of course, the rival dresses up the performance,” Bielsa said. “Winning is not the same as beating the best.”

Earlier Wednesday, Paraguay beat Peru 1-0 to keep up their torrid pace in the qualifiers. In Asuncion, Benfica striker Oscar Cardozo scored in the 81st minute, following a series of rebounds in the Peruvian box.

Venezuela put on a surprising second-half performance to beat Ecuador 3-1.

Ecuador pulled ahead Wednesday with a goal from Isaac Mina in the 10th minute, but Venezuela reversed things with goals by Giancarlo Maldonado in the 48th minute, Alejandro Moreno eight minutes later and Juan Arango in the 67th minute.

A break in the qualifying round follows with the next matches in the qualifiers scheduled for late March.

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