LATIN AMERICA – There were two big surprises in round 13 of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, where Paraguay, Brazil, Chile and Argentina currently hold the top slots in South America. Results overwhelmingly favoured away teams, with only Argentina winning at home. The big upset in the North and Central American and Caribbean area (Concacaf) was Mexico’s 1-2 defeat at the hands of El Salvador – a result that left Mexico in real danger of not qualifying.
According to the official site of football’s governing body, FIFA.com, Brazil thrashed Uruguay 4-0; Venezuela earned a 1-0 victory over Bolivia in the oxygen-starved altitude of La Paz; Chile sprang a surprise with a 2-0 win over Paraguay in Asuncion; Ecuador gave themselves an outside chance of qualifying by beating Peru 2-1 in Lima; and Argentina scraped a narrow 1-0 win over Colombia.
According to ANSA, Argentina manager Diego Maradona maintained that “the result was marvellous, although the game wasn’t,” and added that his team would be ready for their match against Ecuador. “We are going to try our best at altitude, something that affected us terribly in La Paz,” he said. “We hope to do better in Quito”.
In the Concacaf qualifiers, Costa Rica, emboldened by their earlier 3-1 win over the U.S., beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-2. According to El Universal, two goals from Celso Borges and one from Alvaro Saborio won the match for the Costa Ricans and their manager, Rodrigo Kenton. The U.S., meanwhile, put their defeat in San Jose behind them and beat Honduras 2-1 in Chicago.
In South America, Brazil and Paraguay (24 points each), Chile (23), and Argentina (22) are now sure to go through, while Uruguay (17) and Venezuela (16) are vying for the chance of a play-off against the fourth-placed Concacaf team.
In Concacaf, Costa Rica (12 points) and the U.S. (10) are sure to qualify, while – a long way behind – El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago are all in with a chance of securing the third-place qualifying slot.