Brazil gets WC berth with 3-1 win over Argentina

Brazil gets WC berth with 3-1 win over Argentina


Brazil's players celebrate at the end of a 2010 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Argentina in Rosario on Saturday. AP

Paraguay and Chile are also very close to securing a place in the World Cup. As things stand, they need only three points at most from the three last rounds of qualifiers to formally get a place in South Africa.

In the region's very tight qualifiers, Brazil has 30 points from 15 rounds of play, to Paraguay's and Chile's 27. Troubled Argentina is fourth on 22 points, with Colombia and Ecuador on 20 and Uruguay and Venezuela on 18.

The first four teams will directly get a place in South Africa. The fifth-placed team will clash with a team from North or Central America or the Caribbean in a play-off, with the winner advancing to the World Cup.

Brazil were clearly the best team on the pitch as they beat Argentina 3-1 away in Rosario.

"Technical quality and the team that looked for the goal at all times prevailed," Brazil coach Carlos Dunga said in a press conference after the game.

Argentina coach Diego Maradona was visibly disappointed.

"It's always ugly to lose to Brazil, even more so when we were very excited about being able to win this match and getting closer to the World Cup," he said
"We defended high balls very badly, and we paid a high price," Maradona noted. "We lost clearly."

Argentina started off well in Rosario. They had possession of the ball, although they enjoyed no clear chances. Only their superstar striker Lionel Messi got a shot on goal from a long-distance effort, but he was off target.

In the 24th minute, however, Luisao made the most of Brazil's first chance. Amid poor defending from Argentina, he headed the ball alone off an Elano free kick, and found the net.

Only six minutes later, Argentine keeper Mariano Andujar blocked a shot from Maicon, but man-of-the-match Luis Fabiano took the rebound and made things 2-0.
Brazil had everything under control from then on, at least until midfielder Jesus Datolo put the hosts back in the game with a great long-range shot.

Argentina's newfound hopes were shortlived, however. Only two minutes later, Kaka got a great ball through to Luis Fabiano, and the Sevilla striker brilliantly chipped the ball over Andujar.

Barcelona's Messi - a native of Rosario and arguably the best player in the world - put in a very lacklustre performance and was often imprecise, while Tevez contributed little more than effort for Argentina.

In Asuncion, Paraguayan striker Salvador Cabanas scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, just before half time, following a foul on Carlos Bonet. Bolivian keeper Hugo Suarez had a great game and blocked several other efforts from the hosts.

In Santiago, Venezuela drew 2-2 with Chile to slow down the hosts' pace en route to the World Cup.

Arturo Vidal opened the score for Chile with a header just 10 minutes into the game. However, Giancarlo Maldonado equalized in the 33rd minute and Juan Manuel Rey made things 2-1 for Venezuela from a free kick just before half-time. Rodrigo Millar rescued a valuable point for Chile in the 53rd minute.

In Lima, Uruguay had many chances to pull ahead, but their strikers were seriously off target. Just five minutes before the end of the game, striker Hernan Rengifo gave Peru - the last-placed team in the qualifiers - an unexpected 1-0 win.

Colombia got back in the race with a 2-0 home win over Ecuador in Medellin.
Midfielder Jackson Martinez put the hosts ahead in the 72nd minute, while striker Teofilo Gutierrez set the definitive score in injury time.

Colombian midfielder Fabian Vargas - of Spanish club Almeria - broke his fibula and tore a ligament in his ankle when he crashed into Ecuador's Pablo Palacios.

On Wednesday, in the 16th round of the qualifiers, troubled Argentina are set to travel to Paraguay, while Brazil host Chile in the northeastern Brazilian city of Salvador. The round is also set to feature the games Uruguay-Colombia, Bolivia-Ecuador and Venezuela-Peru.

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