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CONMEBOL WCQ Rewind: Uruguay humbles Chile, and more

Diego Godin Uruguay Chile 33

Both Uruguay and Chile were looking to rebound from a disappointing result heading into their Round 4 tilt, but it was the former that enjoyed a thoroughly-convincing victory while the latter was left boiling in frustration.

Uruguay handed Chile its first defeat of this World Cup Qualifying campaign, handily defeating the reigning Copa America champions, 3-0, at home on Tuesday. Chile fielded a strong lineup that included Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, but lacked the sharpness and quality that have been part of the recipe to all its recent success.

Argentina, meanwhile, got back on track with its first win, defeating Colombia on the road in Barranquilla. The other matches saw Ecuador improve to 4-0 with a win over lowly Venezuela, Brazil roll past Peru, and Paraguay come from behind to edge Bolivia.

Here is a closer look at Matchday 4 of CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying:


Argentina won by a narrow margin, but was the better team by far in its 1-0 road victory over Colombia. Lucas Biglia scored in the 20th minute on a perfectly-orchestrated counterattack, and La Albiceleste deployed an intelligent, defensive-minded gameplan that left Colombia out of ideas.

Playing in the heat at Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez in Barranquilla in the middle of the afternoon, Argentina chose to stay organized at the back rather than try to go blow for blow with Colombia. Los Cafeteros did not have an answer for their opponents’ tactical approach, lacking conviction in the attack and showing poor movement off the ball.

One turnover proved extremely costly, as Argentina capitalized on its numbers on the break when Ezequiel Lavezzi slipped a low cross to Biglia for the winner. The Argentines, who are still playing without the injured Leo Messi, had a pair of chances in the second half to put the game out of reach. However, an incorrect offside call negated a goal and another shot hit the post.

The result gave Argentina its first full three points in qualifying and four from two games in this international window. Colombia, meanwhile, finished with just one after tying Chile last week.


Ecuador scored twice in the opening 23 minutes, and never looked back en route to recording a fourth straight win via a 3-1 road triumph over Venezuela. Fidel Martinez opened the scoring for Ecuador at Estadio Cachamay in Ciudad Guayana in the 15th minute, and Jefferson Montero doubled the lead eight minutes later following a mistake in distribution at the back by Venezuela goalkeeper Alain Baroja.

Felipe Caicedo added a third with a powerful header from 16 yards out at the hour-mark before La Tricolor took its foot off the pedal. Caicedo has scored in all four of Ecuador’s games thus far, and is now the sole leading goal-scorer in this qualifying campaign with four tallies.

Venezuela got a consolation goal from a fired up Josef Martinez six minutes from time, but the game was already over. La Vinotinto is still in last place with a paltry 0-4 record, and head coach Noel Sanvicente’s prolonged blank expression from the bench after the final whistle summed up how things have been going so far.

Ecuador is on the other end of the table, impressively leading with a perfect 4-0 record that has it dreaming of a return to the World Cup.


All the main acton in this one happened in a six-minute span. Bolivia jumped out in front in the 59th minute, but was unable to prevent a Paraguay comeback. Paraguay responded by scoring twice in quick succession, first in the 62nd and then again three minutes later, and held on for the 2-1 win at home.

Yasmani Duk came off the bench at halftime and pushed La Verde ahead just before the hour mark, finishing off a quick counterattack with a venomous shot from distance that beat Paraguay goalkeeper Antony Silva.

Despite only scoring once in the previous three matches, Los Guaranies refused to roll over in front of their crowd at Estadio Defensores del Chaco in Asuncion. They pulled level within three minutes when Dario Lezcano capped a flurry of chances on one sequence with a close-range finish, and Lucas Barrios then put the Paraguayans up for good in the 65th minute with a well-taken header.

Paraguay had to close out the match with 10 men after Pablo Aguilar was sent off with a second yellow card in the 86th minute. The hosts ultimately did the job, and now have seven points while Bolivia remains with three.


After hitting a bump in the road against unbeaten Ecuador, Uruguay returned to winning ways by trouncing lackluster Chile, 3-0, at Estadio Centenario in Montevideo. Veteran centerback Diego Godin opened the scoring with his impressive third goal of the campaign, and Alvaro Pereira and Martin Caceres struck a few minutes apart after halftime.

Chile had its worst performance through the early stages of qualifying in this one. La Roja not only got a poor showing from midfield leader Arturo Vidal – who was partially to blame on Godin’s 23rd-minute winner and missed a good look of his own in the first half – but just could not get it going offensively for the second consecutive match.

Alexis Sanchez got the nod despite being a question mark because of an injury, but Chile struggled against Uruguay’s stout defense. If that was not bad enough for frustrated Chile, Jorge Valdivia was ejected with a straight red in second-half stoppage time and Vidal was also disciplined with an early yellow card that will force him to miss the next game.

Playing without top striker Luis Suarez, Los Charruas have done a good job so far by posting three cleansheets while scoring nine goals. They currently sit in second place in the standings. Chile has slipped to fifth.


Brazil overcame a strong start from Peru and settled into the match at Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador to grab a convincing 3-0 win. Neymar proved to be a handful throughout against traveling Peru, but the winning strike came from Douglas Costa, who netted the late decisive tally in the two nations’ meeting at the Copa America this summer.

Douglas Costa beat Luis Advincula to a cross from Willian in the 22nd minute, and went from scorer to provider in the second half. He passed the ball to Renato Augusto 12 minutes after the intermission, and the midfielder opened his international scoring account with a shot that beat Peru goalkeeper Diego Penny. Filipe Luis then gave Brazil an emphatic lead with his first goal for O Canarinho in the 77th minute.

Peru had come out of the gates aggressively, and were the better side for much of the opening half hour. La Blanquirroja could not produce a great look on goal, however, and started losing its control of the match after Douglas Costa found the back of the net.

With the win, Brazil jumps to third place and finishes 2015 collecting four points from two matches. Ninth-placed Peru, meanwhile, has dropped three of its opening four matches.

1. Ecuador (12 points | 4-0-0 | 9 Goals For | 2 Goals Against)
2. Uruguay (9 points | 3-1-0, 9 Goals For | 2 Goals Against)
3. Brazil (7 points | 2-1-1 | 7 Goals For | 4 Goals Against)
4. Paraguay (7 points | 2-1-1 | 3 Goals For | 2 Goals Against)
5. Chile (7 points | 2-1-1 | 7 Goals For | 7 Goals Against)
6. Argentina (5 points | 1-1-2 | 2 Goals For | 3 Goals Against)
7. Colombia (4 points | 1-2-1 | 3 Goals For | 5 Goals Against)
8. Bolivia (3 points | 1-3-0 | 5 Goals For | 8 Goals Against)
9. Peru (3 points | 1-3-0 | 4 Goals For | 9 Goals Against)
10. Venezuela (0 points | 0-4-0 | 4 Goals For | 11 Goal Against)

What do you think of Chile’s struggles in this round? Do you consider Ecuador a lock to reach the World Cup at this point? What is wrong with Colombia?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Forza Celeste, che!

    The Uruguayan team is rather weak compare other Uruguayan teams of the past, but still great result against strong team.

  2. US will never get out of a Conmebol World Cup qualifiers…talk about brutal competition. Look at the top 7 teams right now…2 of them will not qualify, a 3rd will have to go to a playoff…

    US gets to play St. Vincent and Kitts, or something like that…as they used to say on a favorite show of mine, “Life is Unfair!”

    • I do think they would qualify sometimes although not the way things are currently. The AFC has the only qualifiers easier than concacaf (also OFC but even winning OFC only gets you a playoff).

    • I think it was in the late 1990’s and the US was invited to play in the South American Cup. We actually got as far as the semi-finals and Mexico has also done well in the past there. However, generally, it would be an iffy proposition for the US to qualify from that group. We certainly wouldn’t have qualified 7 times in a row like we have in CONCACAF.

  3. The second best team in the world last year went on the road and played defensively? And they are in 6th place? Boy, their coach must be really awful.

    • I can tell you one thing – if Argentina’s results don’t continue to pick up, Martino will find himself out of a job shortly. There were already reports prior to this game that his job could be in jeopardy. Unlike JK, who apparently has license to underachieve with no consequences.

      • Even without Messi, Argentina has 3 or 4 world class strikers, all better than any in US history. . Consider this. If Diego Valeri of the Timbers was an American, he could probably be our most outstanding national team player. I think he has been called into the Argentine team 3 or 4 times. Argentina still has a lot of games to play. I can’t imagine them getting at least into 4th or the coach should be fired.

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