World Champions Argentina and Brazil secure victories in South American World Cup qualifiers
Posted : 13 September 2023
In a historic feat, the world champions secured their second consecutive victory in Bolivia during the second round of qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the South American region. Argentina triumphed 3-0 against Bolivia, while Brazil secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over Peru.
Meanwhile, Chile and Colombia played out a goalless draw, and Ecuador emerged victorious with a 2-1 scoreline against Uruguay.
Even without Lionel Messi, who was omitted from the squad, Argentina adapted well to the challenging conditions in La Paz, a city located 3,600 meters above sea level. Angel Di Maria, wearing the captain's armband in Messi's absence, played a pivotal role.
In the 31st minute, Di Maria provided the assist for Ansu Fernandes to score the opening goal. Bolivia's troubles compounded when defender Roberto Fernandes received a second yellow card in the 39th minute, leaving them with ten players.
Shortly thereafter, Di Maria set up Nico Tagliafico, who found the net, marking his first goal for the national team. Nico González sealed the victory with a goal in the 84th minute after a shot by Exequiel Palacios.
Argentina passed the La Paz test, maintaining their perfect record with six points and no goals conceded in two qualifying rounds. Their next matches will be a home game against Paraguay and an away fixture in Peru.
Brazil faced a tough challenge against Peru but managed to secure a 1-0 win, thanks to a late goal from Marquinhos in the 90th minute. Neymar's assist in that play made him South America's all-time leading scorer with 18 assists. This victory extended Brazil's remarkable streak of scoring in every visit to Lima, which has spanned 12 consecutive games since 1953.
In a match characterized by home team victories in recent World Cup qualifying meetings, Ecuador earned crucial points in their campaign. Agustin Cannobio opened the scoring in the 38th minute, but Felix Torres equalized in the 45+5th minute and then scored the winning goal in the 61st minute, thanks to an assist by 16-year-old prodigy Kendry Pass.
Chile and Colombia played to a goalless draw, extending Chile's winless streak against Colombia to seven consecutive World Cup qualifying matches. Despite the lack of goals, the match marked Chile's first point of the campaign under the leadership of Nestor Lourenço, who remains unbeaten with seven wins and three draws.
The next set of matches in South America's World Cup qualifiers is scheduled for mid-October.