2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Russia – zone South America matchday 10

Bolivia 2-2 Ecuador
Colombia 2-2 Uruguay
Argentina 0-1 Paraguay
Chile 2-1 Peru
Brazil 2-0 Venezuela

We have now played more than half of the games in South America’s preliminary competition. Brazil has the lead over Uruguay with 21 and 20 points respectively. Ecuador has been the surprise third place and played very well so far. They are tied with Colombia to conclude the top four spot that will automatically obtain their ticket to Russia. The 5th place will have to go through a playoff round against a member of the Oceania zone. But where are the past two Copa Americas finalists, Argentina and Chile?

Chile has had a rough time in those qualifiers and some rumors coming from Santiago were already pointing toward an early exit as it happened in 2002 and 2006 when the team failed to qualify to the World Cups in South Korea/Japan and Germany. Thus, Chile was against the wall and defeated Peru [2-1] to remain in the race to qualify with 14 points. Argentina mightily disappointed by letting the three points slip away at home against Paraguay [0-1]. This defeat was a shocker as described by midfielder Javier Mascherano:

“I’m concerned because we’ve had two very poor performances. We were disorganized, we  played with an air of desperation and we made things easy for the opposition. Overall, we were poor. When you play badly, you play badly and there are no excuses.”