Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Thu 2 April 2009

World Cup 2010 Round-up: South America

Well there's really no other place to start than with Bolivia's monumental 6-1 thrashing of Argentina yesterday. One shudders to think what kind of odds you'd have got on that at your local bookmakers before the game, given that Bolivia are and were next to bottom in the table.

It's a scoreline which has sent shockwaves around the world and is a genuinely great achievement on the part of the victors. It's the first time Argentina have lost by five goals since their 5-0 home defeat to Colombia in 1993 and the first time they've let in six since Czechoslovakia beat them 6-1 in the 1958 World Cup Finals.

Bolivia resorted to their oft-used tactic of hitting plenty of long range shots which, when coupled with the altitude and bobbly pitch in the Hernando Silas Stadium, La Paz, can produce all manner of different outcomes. So it turned out to be as Joaquin Botero hit a hat-trick and his team-mates Marcelo Martins, Alex Da Rosa and Didi Torrico all stumped up one each to end Diego Maradona's 100% record as Argentina's coach.

That defeat allowed Chile to overtake them in the group after a 3-1 win over bottom club Peru at the weekend and a goalless draw with Uruguay yesterday. Chile are now undefeated in three but will find it hard to maintain that run when they face group leaders Paraguay in their next match.

The Albirroja found their lead over Brazil halved to just three points after a very poor showing this week. A 2-0 defeat to Uruguay at the weekend was a surprise in itself, but they nearly lost a second away to Ecuador yesterday and were only saved by an Edgar Benitez equaliser three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the game.

With everyone else failing to find any kind of consistency it was down to the Brazilians to capitalise by maintaining their plodding progress of late. At the weekend, however, they were outclassed for much of their game against Ecuador and would have lost were it not for some goalkeeping heroics from Inter Milan's Julio Cesar. A 1-1 draw ensued and was thus followed by a far more comfortable encounter against bottom team Peru that ended in a 3-0 for Dunga's side.

Outside of the top four, Uruguay predictably maintained the play-off spot by picking up four points out of six this week while Colombia did what Argentina couldn't by beating Bolivia 2-0. At the other end of the table, Peru were the only team not to pick up a point in either of their two games and are now five points adrift of the nearest team, Bolivia.

The final part of our round-up takes in the CONCACAF region, Asia and Africa so join us soon for that.

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