The World Cup qualifier date in South America brought with it quite a few notable pieces of news, more importantly the scoreboard in the Colombia-Bolivia game, and the aftermath of the Argentina-Venezuela match.
In the 11th round of the qualifier, Ecuador was the only team with a bye, and lots of things became clearer on the road to the World Cup next summer.
In the Clasico of the Pacifico, Peru beat Chile 1-0, with a goal by Jefferson Farfan in the 87th minute. The two teams battled not only for their historic rivalry, but also for clinching the last spot (or at least half spot that will give access to a playoff against the fifth placed team in the AFC). With Venezuela’s defeat against Argentina, Chile could have overtaken the Northerners, but losing to Peru, they are now tied at 12 points—and behind them due to their worse goal average—Peru is creeping up closer and now sit in the seventh spot at 11 points.
Messi stands out in Argentina’s win in World Cup qualifying
Argentina beat Venezuela 3-0 in a game where Higuain scored two goals and matched Hernan Crespo’s historical nine goals in a qualifier en route to the 2002 World Cup. Real Madrid’s forward overpassed his teammate Messi, who scored the second goal of the match off a penalty kick, and now sits as the second best goal scorer in the region with eight goals.
Venezuela, who wanted to celebrate a victory in Buenos Aires in memory of Hugo Chavez, was plainly out played from the first moment, as Sabella’s men never seemed in danger of losing to the Vino Tinto. Venezuela should not lose hope on their qualification, however, as they they depend on themselves: They will have to face Colombia on Tuesday, and then Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Paraguay.
Out of those rivals, Paraguay and Bolivia are out of the running, and only Uruguay and Colombia are ahead of them on the table right now, and they will both have to visit Venezuela.
Meanwhile, Uruguay, once again, failed to perform, this time against the last team on the table, Paraguay, as they allowed a 1-1 tie in the 86th minute. The third team in the last World Cup, and actual champion in South America (won the last Copa America, precisely against Paraguay), has had a terrible streak in the qualifiers, losing their last two games, against Bolivia 4-1 and Argentina 3-0, and tying the one prior 1-1 to Ecuador. Even though they have arguably the best set of forwards in the region (Luis Suarez, Cavani and Diego Forlan), their output has been less than what was expected, and they will need to step it up if they want to maintain their current spot, which will give them a ticket to Brazil 2014.
Colombia wins again
Finally, Colombia was the biggest winner of this match day, as they won 5-0 against Bolivia, certifying that they are a force to be reckoned with and that, alongside Argentina, the “Cafeteros” are the strongest in the region right now. Colombia repeated it’s largest scoreboard in a qualifier ever, the same they produced in the historical matchup in Buenos Aires in 1993 against Argentina, and they did so with five different scorers. Torres, Valdes, Gutierrez, Falcao and Armero made the fans at Metropolitano Stadium in Barranquilla go crazy with their possession game and highly paced style, which Jose Pekerman has established as the victorious and effective personality of this revamped Colombian National Team.
Matchday 12 will take place next Tuesday, with the Venezuela-Colombia and Chile-Uruguay games as the main attractions of the round, and with Argentina having a double potential chance to celebrate: Be able to mend the 6-1 defeat they suffered in La Paz four years ago and, virtually, clinch their spot in next summer’s World Cup.