Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Tue 9 September 2008

World Cup 2010 Update: South America

As you'll by now be aware, last weekend was a busy time where the 2010 World Cup qualifiers were concerned. On Sunday we told you about the latest action in Europe - today we fill you in with the major happenings from South America.

And the big news here is that Brazil are back on the war path again. After slipping to fifth in the table, they bounced back on Sunday with a 3-0 win away to Chile. Ronaldinho was on hand to orchestrate the Brazilian fightback after Chile had made most of the early running in the game, but it was his cross that Fabiano headed in to give Brazil the lead after 21 minutes.

That said, Ronaldinho missed the chance to get on the scoresheet himself when his penalty was superbly saved by Claudio Bravo in the opposing goal fourteen minutes later.

But Brazil were not to be beaten as Manchester City's Robinho (and who'd have thought we'd have been saying that a week ago) made it 2-0 just before half time. After that, tempers became fraught and both teams had a man sent off - Kleber for Brazil and Jorge Valdivia for Chile - but the game was to end with a third goal for the Brazilians courtesy of a second for Luis Fabiano.

That win takes Brazil up to second on goal difference thanks to a 1-1 stalemate between the top two (as was), Argentina and Paraguay. Olympic champions Argentina found themselves 1-0 down after just 12 minutes when Gabriel Heinze put the ball past his own keeper in a mix up that left Abbondanzieri needing five stitches in a knee injury.

The Argentine number 1 was replaced by the number 12, Juan Carrizo, but his side were clearly unsettled as Carlos Tevez got himself booked a couple of minutes later and then again for a second time around the half-hour mark. His dismissal left The Albicelestes with a mountain to climb as the depleted Argentineans searched for an equaliser in the hour that remained, but it duly arrived following some good work by Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Fending off the challenges of four Paraguayan defenders, his long pass found Sergio Aguero of Atletico Madrid who slotted the ball home with just under half an hour remaining. The score remained 1-1, so that means Paraguay stay top of the group while Argentina drop to third.

The rest of the table underwent a reshuffle too, following Sunday's matches. Uruguay climb to fourth after a 1-0 win over a largely ineffective Colombia side. Ecuador move up a place to seventh following a 3-1 victory over Bolivia which saw the latter reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Alejandro Gomez.

Finally Peru, grabbed their first win of the campaign with a 1-0 win over Venezuela despite the absence of three of their best strikers - Claudio Pizarro, Paolo Guerrero and Jefferson Farfan. Despite a late resurgence by the Venezuelans, Peru held on to their narrow lead which leaves Bolivia bottom of the table with five defeats from their seven matches.

The second part of the September double-header continues tonight when Paraguay play at home to Venezuela, while tomorrow night sees the remaining four games taking place, including the top-v-bottom ties between Brazil and Bolivia and Argentina and Peru. Mid-table, Colombia go to Chile looking to inject some life back into their campaign and Uruguay will no doubt be hoping to climb nearer the top of the pile as they take on Ecuador in Montevideo.

For those of you in the UK, the good news is you can watch some of the action from these qualifiers on Sky tomorrow night. For full details, see yesterday's Midweek TV Guide.

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