Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Venezuela are at the top of the standings. Colombia remained in fifth place on the qualification table, in a position to secure a World Cup spot, while Ecuador, Chile, and Paraguay were tied for sixth place with four points each. Peru and Bolivia are at the bottom of the standings.
The Latin American Post Staff
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Leer en español: Revisada la Cuarta Ronda de Eliminatorias de la Conmebol para la Copa Mundial de Fútbol de la FIFA 2023-25
Uruguay Ends 22-Year Drought with Bielsa's Intense Play
Uruguay showcased Marcelo Bielsa's intense style with a decisive 2-0 victory over Brazil, marking the end of a 22-year winless streak. Venezuela began to shake off their prolonged absence from the World Cup with a convincing 3-0 win over a subdued Chile.
Argentina, the leading team, continued its dominant run in the pre-World Cup tournament with Lionel Messi's impressive performance resulting in a 2-0 victory for the Albiceleste. This win allowed Messi to become the top scorer in qualifiers with 31 goals, surpassing Uruguay's Luis Suárez by two.
On the other hand, Paraguay secured their first victory in the pre-World Cup tournament with a 1-0 win over Bolivia, pushing Bolivia further down the South American qualification table with no points.
The match between Ecuador and Colombia at high altitude in Quito ended in a tedious 0-0 draw. A missed penalty by Colombian star Luis Díaz was one of the few moments of excitement in the game. The physical encounter left both teams with a sense of satisfaction. Colombia remained in fifth place on the qualification table, in a position to secure a World Cup spot, while Ecuador, Chile, and Paraguay were tied for sixth place with four points each.
Ecuador's Deduction and Uruguay's Bielsa-inspired Victory
Ecuador started this qualification round with a deduction of three points due to a penalty imposed for improperly including Byron Castillo in the previous qualification for Qatar 2022.
In the Uruguay vs. Brazil game, the Uruguayan team swiftly adapted to Bielsa's high-energy style, emphasizing teamwork and a relentless pace. On the field, they secured a significant victory even without two of their historical icons, Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani. The match concluded with Darwin Núñez, filling in for Suárez, scoring in the 41st minute, and Nicolás De la Cruz extending the lead in the 77th minute. Unsurprisingly unsettled by Neymar's injury, Brazil couldn't respond against Uruguay's relentless play. This match marked the end of Brazil's 37-game undefeated streak in qualifiers.
As a result, Uruguay now stands in the second spot in the qualification standings, tied with Brazil and Venezuela, all having seven points, and positioned for a trip to North America in 2026. However, questions arise regarding Brazil's decision to appoint Fernando Diniz as both the interim head coach of the national team and the coach of Fluminense, which is set to play in the Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors on November 4 at the Maracaná.
Messi's return to peak form reinvigorated the team's performance for Argentina, solidifying their leadership in the qualifiers with a perfect 12 points after four matches. They hold a five-point lead over their closest competitors: Uruguay, Brazil, and Venezuela.
Venezuela's impressive performance, led by Yeferson Soteldo, hints at the possibility of the Caribbean team securing its first-ever participation in a World Cup. In contrast, Chile, facing difficulties transitioning from its golden generation led by Alexis Sánchez and Arturo Vidal, struggles with only four points in the standings and the looming threat of missing another World Cup.
Paraguay broke its offensive slump with a significant victory, and the team is showing signs of improvement under the leadership of Argentine coach Daniel Garnero.
Bolivia's Struggles Continue as World Cup Hopes Dim
On the other hand, Bolivia remains winless in the qualifiers, raising concerns for its Argentine coach, Gustavo Costas. The Bolivian team, no longer benefiting from the high-altitude conditions in La Paz (3,600 meters above sea level), realizes that reaching the 2026 North American World Cup is challenging.