World Cup qualification: Brazil and Argentina top South American table
The second matchday in South America’s 2026 World Cup qualifying has been completed, ending the first international window for the nations to battle to the North American tournament.
They will next face off against one another in World Cup action in October, for another two matchdays, but what has happened during the latest fixtures and how does the table look?
Bolivia 0-3 Argentina
Argentina’s comfortable win over Bolivia sees them on maximum points, despite Lionel Messi being rested for the game due to fatigue.
Goals by Enzo Fernandez, Nicolas Tagliafico, and Nicolas Gonzalez against Bolivia – who had Roberto Fernandez sent off for a straight red card offence, for a dangerous tackle on Cristian Romero.
Bolivia goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra pulled off a fine save to deny Enzo Fernandez a second goal in the second half, and Argentina will be delighted to have come away with a positive win without their talisman.
Defeat for La Verde means they sit bottom of the ten-man table, while Argentina are second.
Ecuador 2-1 Uruguay
A double by centre-back Felix Torres ensured that Ecuador came from behind to win against the former World Champions.
Agustin Canobbio’s opening goal for Uruguay came seven minutes before half-time, however an injury time strike and a 61st minute goal meant they left with nothing.
Remarkably, it is Torres’ fifth goal for Ecuador despite being a defender, and the Santos Laguna player will have pleased many of their fans.
In truth, Ecuador created more chances and deserved to win and now sit on zero points due to their three-point penalty.
Uruguay will be content with their position of third, well within the six automatic places for the World Cup.
Venezuela 1-0 Paraguay
Venezuela icon Salomon Rondon’s dramatic late penalty stole all three points for the Venezuelans, despite having less shots than their opponents.
Venezuela have never appeared at the World Cup, but the late goal will inspire fans and players alike, who could think that with a few shocks, anything is possible.
It will go down as a disappointing display by Paraguay, who drew their first game, and they should have taken something from this game.
VAR intervened to award that fateful penalty after a foul from Ivan Peris, but fans of Venezuela will be happy with the result, nonetheless.
Chile 0-0 Columbia
The second nil-nil of the qualification so far – and a fair result at that – Chile and Columbia’s match was one to forget.
In a game of few chances and even fewer highlights, neither team could break the deadlock and both will be content to not lose.
Alexis Sanchez of Chile and Luis Diaz of Columbia were unable to influence the game, and dramatic improvement for both sides is needed over the coming months.
Peru 0-1 Brazil
A late goal by Marquinhos in the 90th minute sealed the win for Brazil, which keeps them top of the table going into the next round of fixtures in October.
Early goals were ruled out from Raphinha and Richarlison, and Peru thought they had held on before the late winner.
Brazil’s interim coach – Fernando Deniz – said that he was pleased with the efforts of his players and that it was a different sort of game to their previous match – a 5-1 demolition of Bolivia.
A well-worked corner routine by Neymar’s cross will have devastated Peru, but they can take heart for matching the Brazilians for almost the entire match.
It means Peru sit on one point but will not be disappointed, and Brazil are ahead of their bitter rivals going into matchday three later this year.
Matchday Three Fixtures (12-13 October):
Bolivia v Ecuador
Colombia v Uruguay
Chile v Peru
Argentina v Paraguay
Brazil v Venezuela
How Does Qualifying Work?
All 10 countries play each other home and away, totalling 18 games to be played by each nation.
The top six teams (up from four) will automatically enter the World Cup from North America, while the team in seventh enter the Inter-confederation play-offs alongside five other nations from the other qualifying regions (with the exception of UEFA).
In the 2022 qualifying, it was Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador who would succeed with Argentina going on to win the tournament.
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