Opinions expressed are my own. For more details on South American World Cup Qualifying and all other World Cup Qualifying competitions, please visit www.fifa.com
Ecuador 1-2 Peru
As Argentina and Chile both failed to win Tuesday, Peru cashed in on a big win in Quito and surged to fourth-place. Edison Flores opened the scoring for the guests in the 73rd-minute, and Paolo Hurtado doubled Peru’s lead three minutes later. An Enner Valencia goal in the 79th gave Ecuador some hope, but it wasn’t to be, as Peru would hang on to win.
The tough news for Peru is they have a mammoth game at Argentina on October 5th followed by an October 10th home game in Lima against Colombia to close out Qualifying. But if they close out qualifying with the grit and strong performances they’re capable of producing, soccer fans may very well see the Peruvians in Russia next summer.
Argentina 1-1 Venezuela
Jhon Murillo denied Argentina three points in what has been a nerve-racking qualifying campaign for a team that historically dominates. Argentina benefited from an effective attack that led to a Marcos Acuna cross deflecting off of Rolf Feltscher for an own-goal. It was another winless game for the Argentinians, who at least must be relieved that they merely fell to fifth-place when they could have fallen to sixth had Chile beaten Bolivia.
Bolivia 1-0 Chile
One of the elements that makes World Cup Qualifying awesome is the impact of home-field advantage. Playing big games with tremendous fan support is one reason why teams that aren’t expected to win on paper can cause upsets at home, or even dominate at home. The Bolivian national team fans and the altitude in La Paz were factors in Bolivia’s 1-0 upset of Chile Tuesday. Chilean defender Marcelo Diaz stretched his arm out to block a Bolivian shot, resulting in a penalty kick. Juan Carlos Arce stepped to the spot and scored what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Bolivia deserves credit; the team is merely playing for pride at this point, but it still put together a winning performance. As for the Confederations Cup runners-up, the Chilean national team is in sixth place, one point behind Argentina for the Intercontinental playoff spot.
Paraguay 1-2 Uruguay
Uruguay won its first away qualifier since 2015. Federico Valverde had a big performance and scored one of Uruguay’s goals in the 76th-minute. Four minutes later, Gustavo Gomez scored an own-goal to double the lead for the visitors. Angel Romero was able to draw the Paraguayans one back in the 88th, but it wasn’t enough for Paraguay to avoid defeat.
Uruguay now moves a step ahead of the traffic jam in the middle of the table, moving into 2nd-place. The team’s final two games are against the two teams at the bottom of the table (Bolivia and Venezuela), and while both of those teams avoided defeat on Tuesday, Uruguay is in favorable condition to qualify for Russia 2018.
Colombia 1-1 Brazil
In a collision of South American heavyweights, Colombia snapped Brazil’s nine-game winning streak in Barranquilla. Willian scored in first-half stoppage time for Brazil, but Radamel Falcao scored in the 56th-minute for Colombia to draw level with the world’s current top-ranked team. Colombia is in third-place and will host Paraguay on October 5th before traveling to Lima to close against a formidable Peruvian national team five days later.