FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Argentina pip Colombia, Ecuador secure playoff spot

Brazil (39 points), and Argentina (35) are already qualified.

FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Argentina pip Colombia, Ecuador secure playoff spot

Ecuador is three points ahead of Uruguay with 25 points. Peru is currently at 21 points, Chile one point behind. Colombia is 17.

Colombia was the favorite to win one of four spots in Qatar at the South American World Cup qualifiers, while Ecuador, the underdog, was expected not to succeed under Gustavo Alfaro.

Tuesday's round ended in a draw for Colombia, who lost 1-0 to Argentina. The Ecuadorians took fifth place, or at least tied with Peru 1-1. Ecuador will now be playing an Asian team in an international playoff.

Ecuador would have been third in the region if it had won. However, that is only going to happen until March 31, when the final round will take place.

Brazil (39 points), and Argentina (35) are already qualified. Ecuador is three points ahead of Uruguay with 25 points. Peru is currently at 21 points, Chile is one point behind. Colombia is 17.

There is no chance that Venezuela (10), Paraguay (15) and Bolivia (15) will qualify.

Martinez scores for Argentina

Lautaro Martinez scored in Cordoba the only goal in the match at 29 minutes. He was left in the penalty box alone by two Colombian defenders. Camilo Vargas, goalkeeper, made many important saves including three shots from veteran Angel di Maria.

Argentina didn't count on Lionel Messi, the superstar of Argentina who is still recovering from Covid-19.

The last two rivals of Colombia are Bolivia away and Venezuela at home. Reinaldo Rueda's side will need to win both and overtake Chile, Peru and Uruguay to reach Qatar. Colombia has failed to score in seven of the last seven qualifying matches.

Rueda stated that "This isn't over, we want it to continue until the end," during a news conference.

"Maybe we need to have more clarity in the midfield as well as in our finishing. That energy is missing."

Argentina was able to score the most goals despite losing several defenders and Messi, as well as Rodrigo de Paul (midfielder) and Leandro Paredes (defender).

Emiliano Martinez, goalkeeper, said that the result proved Argentina has more than 11 players. He said that the team was getting stronger.

Peru vs Ecuador

Ecuador was able to dream for two minutes about its World Cup return when Michael Estrada calmly scored the goal after a long pass by a defender.

Peru was unable to stop the Ecuadorians but pulled through in the 69th with Edison Flores' header -- and the support of the crowd. Coach Ricardo Gareca's team is now in fifth place with two points more than Chile and four more than Colombia.

Paraguay will host Ecuador's last qualifier. Peru will then travel to Uruguay and take on Paraguay home.

Brazil defeats Paraguay

On Tuesday, Brazil's leader beat Paraguay 4-0 at their home. Goals were scored by Raphinha and Philippe Coutinho as well as Rodrygo, Antony, and Antony. Tite didn't count Neymar as a player and used the game to evaluate other players, such as Lionel Scaloni from Argentina.

Uruguay hammer Venezuela

Uruguay's new coach Diego Alonso won his second consecutive victory -- a 4-1 win over Venezuela. Uruguay's goals came from Rodrigo Betancur and Giorgian de Arascaeta, Edinson Cvani, Luis Suarez, and Giorgian De Arrascaeta. Josef Martinez scored the only goal for Venezuela.
Uruguay could win the World Cup by beating Peru at home in the next round.

Chili beat Bolivia

Chile also beat Bolivia 3-2 at the altitude La Paz due to two goals by Alexis Sanchez, and one by Marcelino Nunez. This result put Chile in sixth place with 19 points, and almost ended the chances for the hosts with 15 points.

Marc Enoumba, Marcelo Martins scored the Bolivian goals.

Chile striker Sanchez stated that "this was a reward for our efforts, but the journey doesn't end here."

Chile's last challenges will be against Brazil and at home against Uruguay.