Belo Horizonte — Memories of the biggest humiliation in
Brazilian football and the return of Lionel Messi to Argentina were not enough
to stop the five-time World Cup champions from beating their archrivals
Thursday in South American qualifying for the World Cup.
The Brazilians won at Mineirao stadium, and they won
comfortably — 3-0. There were no Brazilians in tears this time, unlike at the
World Cup in 2014.
The lopsided victory over Argentina extended Brazil's
successful streak under new coach Tite to five matches, giving the
qualification leaders 24 points from 11 matches. Argentina has 16.
Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza finds himself in an even
tougher position after the lackluster performance in Brazil. His team is
remained in sixth place, outside the continent's four automatic spots at the
2018 World Cup in Russia.
Copa America champion Chile held third-place Colombia to a
0-0 draw away, despite the absence of Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez due to
Second-place Uruguay beat an Ecuador side filled with
reserves by only 2-1 in Montevideo. The Uruguayans have 23 points, just one
Elsewhere, Peru producing a shocking 4-1 win at Paraguay and
is now back in the race for a place in Russia 2018. The Peruvians remain in eight
spot with 14 points, one behind seventh-place Paraguay.
Also read: Brazil leads World Cup qualifiers, Argentina shocked at home
In a match between the two worst teams in South American
qualifiers, Venezuela trashed Bolivia 5-0 at home. Venezuela now is ninth place
with 5 points, one ahead of Bolivia.
BRAZIL 3, ARGENTINA 0
The chants of the Brazilian crowd at the Mineirao stadium
showed that most Brazilians fans prefer to forget the 7-1 defeat against
Germany in the same venue during the 2014 World Cup, and instead savor this
victory over Argentina.
"The champions are back!" the crowd chanted.
"Messi doesn't have a World Cup, the one that does is Vampeta!"
Brazil was so dominant it could have won by a bigger margin,
but settled for a 3-0 result with goals from Philippe Coutinho (26), Neymar
(46) and Paulinho (58).
It could have been a different story if the referee had
given a penalty to Argentina when the game was 0-0 and Neymar touched the ball
with his hand in the box.
The most impressive of the three goals was the opener from
Liverpool midfielder Coutinho from the edge of the box.
Messi and his Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano, who came
to Brazil in Neymar's jet, were below par during the whole game.
Argentina, the 2014 finalists, remain under heavy pressure
and on Tuesday Lionel Messi's side will have another difficult match against
Colombia at home.
Because of the high ticket prices only 53,000 of the 62,000
seats were taken at the stadium in Belo Horizonte, located 350 kilometers (220
miles) north of Rio de Janeiro.
URUGUAY 2, ECUADOR 1
Uruguay struggled and Luis Suarez wasn't anywhere near his
best, but coach Oscar Tabarez' lineup managed to hold off Ecuador 2-1 at home.
Sebastian Coates (12) and Diego Rolan (45) gave Uruguay a 2-0 lead before
Felipe Caicedo reduced the margin for Ecuador in the 46th.
The win should give Uruguayan players some ground in their
dispute over image rights. This week they wore shirts without sponsor names and
prohibited banners with sponsors in their press conferences.
Uruguay will next play Chile, and fourth-place Ecuador will
COLOMBIA 0, CHILE 0
In the return of Falcao Garcia and in the absence of
Sanchez, neither Colombia nor Chile managed to score in a quiet match in
Barranquilla. Injury-prone Garcia entered in the second half, but didn't have
any chances to score.
Colombia, in third spot with 18 points, travels to
For the latest on
national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and
like our Facebook page.