Brazil through, Argentina slip: how Conmebol qualifying looks
There are just 12 points left to play for in South American qualifying and Chile were the big winners in the latest round of fixtures.
With only four games remaining in Conmebol qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia the 14th round of fixtures in the South American group brought further trouble for Argentina.
Chile moved up into the automatic spots and Argentina slumped back to fifth and the possibility of a playoff.
Brazil qualify for Russia 2018
Brazil beat Uruguay 3-0 with goals from Neymar, Marcelo and Philippe Coutinho to take their points tally to 33, nine ahead of their nearest challengers Colombia and in doing so mathematically qualified for the tournament in Russia.
The Cafeteros meanwhile leaped from fourth to second as James Rodriguez inspired José Pékerman’s side to a 2-0 victory over Ecuador. Colombia now stand on 24 points at the head of a tight group of countries chasing automatic qualification for the 2018 World Cup.
Uruguay slipped to third on the back of a 2-1 defeat in Peru, where Paulo Guerrero and Edison Flores cancelled out Carlos Sánchez’s opener for the visiting side. La Celeste have 23 points, one fewer than Colombia and level with Chile, who beat Venezuela 3-1 to leap up from sixth to fourth.
Chile move into the automatic places
Alexis Sánchez and Esteban Paredes (2) struck early to put Chile in the driving seat before Salomon Rondón added what would prove to be no more than a consolation as Venezuela, who are already out of the running for Russia and rock bottom of the group, continued a miserable qualifying campaign that has reaped just one win in 14 games.
Bolivia stun Argentina
Bolivia, who are also eliminated and second-bottom on 10 points, scored the surprise of the round in La Paz as they defeated Argentina 2-0 through Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Moreno. Argentina have struggled to score goals in the qualifying tournament and are third in that respect behind Paraguay and Bolivia and in the absence of Leo Messi this latest defeat saw Edgardo Bauza’s side drop into the playoff spot, a point behind Chile and with Ecuador, on 20, chasing them in sixth.
Peru also fired themselves into contention with their win over Uruguay, which took them to 18 points and ahead of Paraguay on goal difference.
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