Argentina qualified for next year’s World Cup in Qatar with a 0-0 draw with Brazil on Tuesday, following defeats for Chile and Uruguay.
The reigning Copa America champions went into the game against their arch-rivals knowing that a win might not be enough to secure their ticket, but a draw might.
Argentina advanced after Chile was defeated 2-0 at home by Ecuador, and Uruguay was defeated 3-0 by Bolivia.
Argentina and Lionel Messi have had a successful year, having won their 15th Copa America in July with a 1-0 final victory over Brazil at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium.
“When we look back on this year, it was stunning. “What we went through with the fans… everything was complete,” Rodrigo De Paul said. Argentina welcomed back six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi to their starting lineup, while Brazil’s star forward Neymar was absent.
However, Messi was unable to inspire his team in a game of few chances against opponents who booked their ticket to Qatar with a 1-0 win over Colombia on Thursday.
Brazil continues to lead the qualifying group, six points ahead of Argentina, which extended their unbeaten streak to 27 games.
“We performed admirably in every match this year.” “We’ve already qualified for the World Cup,” Brazil’s Fred stated.
“We failed in the final third today, but the most important thing is that we did not concede a goal.”
Brazil squandered a two-on-two opportunity when Fred’s pass forced Vinicius Junior wide, and his first touch went out of play.
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It summed up a match that never caught fire and produced almost nothing on either side.
Quick-thinking Matheus Cunha nearly scored the game’s first goal when he chipped Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from inside his own half, but his effort sailed over the crossbar.
Argentina came to life in the final five minutes of the half, with De Paul scoring the hosts’ first goal.
Despite the fact that Alisson Becker, Brazil’s goalkeeper, handled it with ease. Brazil had only one shot on target in the first 45 minutes, and it was a poor effort by Fred.
The main talking point was how Argentina’s Nicolas Otamendi avoided a red card after elbowing Raphinha in the face, drawing blood.
Rafinha, according to reports, required five stitches at halftime.
Much-maligned Manchester United midfielder Fred almost became the unlikely hero in the second period, clipping the top of the bar with Martinez beaten.
But there wasn’t much else to get excited about, as neither goalkeeper was put to the test.
Even Messi’s late effort after jinking past Fred was aimed squarely at Alisson.
Bolivia, Peru close in
Uruguay’s hopes were dashed when they were thrashed by 10-man Bolivia, leaving them seventh in the 10-team group, but only a point off the last automatic qualification spot.
Bolivia won comfortably thanks to a brace from Juan Carlos Arce and another from Marcelo Martins, keeping their qualification hopes alive.
Even the dismissal of Carmelo Algaranaz 15 minutes from time with the score 2-0 did not derail Bolivia’s night.
Bolivia is now only two points behind Colombia in fourth place after their third win in four games.
Colombia is clinging to the final qualification spot by the skin of their teeth after a fifth straight game without a goal, four of which ended in a stalemate.
Colombia couldn’t force a winner against Paraguay at home, despite having Adrian Cubas sent off six minutes from time.
Peru’s second consecutive win, a 2-1 victory away to bottom-placed Venezuela, drew them level on points with Colombia in the intercontinental playoff spot.
Peru earned a crucial victory thanks to goals from Gianluca Lapadula and Christian Cueva on either side of a Darwin Machis strike.
Chile was defeated, falling from fourth to sixth place, thanks to goals from Pervis Estupinan and Moises Caicedo.
Arturo Vidal was also sent off in the first half for a high boot.
Ecuador is third, six points ahead of fifth-placed Peru, with four matches remaining.