World Cup Qualification: CONMEBOL – Messi-less Argentina in World Cup mess, shown no mercy by Bolivia; Brazil book world cup spot

​Bolivia 2 – 0 Argentina

Ecuador 0 – 2 Colombia

Chile 3 – 1 Venezuela

Brazil 3 – 0 Paraguay

Peru 2 – 1 Uruguay

  • ​Bolivia 2 – 0 Argentina

An Argentina side reeling from the shock suspension of captain Lionel Messi crashed to a 2-0 defeat against Bolivia on Tuesday, dealing a fresh blow to their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.

Goals from Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins secured a deserved win for Bolivia, who retain a slender hope of qualification for next year’s finals despite remaining second from bottom of the table.

Argentina had been rocked just hours before kick-off after confirmation Messi had been hit with a four-match ban following a ruling from disciplinary chiefs at world governing body FIFA in Zurich.

The Barcelona superstar  was stunned after being suspended for four of  Argentina’s five  remaining World Cup  qualification matchesafter being caught swearing at an official in a game against Chile last week.

Messi’s suspension left Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza forced to make a hasty reshuffle to his starting line-up, bringing in Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa in attack while leaving Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero on the bench.

But Argentina, clearly struggling in the thin air of La Paz, which is 3,600m )11,800ft( above sea level, were well beaten at the Estadio Hernando Siles.

Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori was stretchered off the field with what looked like a knee injury.

Argentina’s next games will be in August away to Uruguay and in Buenos Aires against Venezuela. In October, the 2014 World Cup finalists face Peru at home and Ecuador away.

  • Brazil 3 – 0 Paraguay

Brazil booked their spot at next year’s World Cup in Russia with a dominant 3-0 win over Paraguay.

Tite’s men are 11 points ahead of fifth-placed Argentina and 10 in front of Uruguay in fourth, and therefore cannot be caught as both nations are still to play each other.

Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho curled in a low opener and Neymar capped an eventful evening with a goal in the second half before Marcelo added a late third.

Barcelona forward Neymar, captaining the side, missed a penalty and saw an effort chalked off for offside on an evening when he was routinely on the end of rough treatment from the Paraguay defenders.

  • Ecuador 0 – 2 Colombia

In Quito, James Rodriguez and Colombia built on the momentum from Thursday’s win against Bolivia with a 2-0 defeat of Ecuador.

James fired the visitors into an early lead in the 20th minute, poking home from close range to put his team 1-0 up.

And 15 minutes later, Juan Cuadrado added a second for Jose Pekerman’s team, with James setting up the Juventus man to make it 2-0 ahead of half-time.

Ecuador failed to break down a resolute Colombia defence in the second half, with the result pushing the visitors past Argentina into at least third.

  • Chile 3 – 1 Venezuela

Alexis Sanchez and Chile also took advantage of Argentina’s loss, hammering Venezuela 3-1 at home to take all three points and move past rivals Argentina in the table.
The hosts were on the board in the fifth minute, with Sanchez beating Wuilker Farinez from a free kick to equal Marcelo Salas as Chile’s all-time leading international scorer with 37 goals.

Two minutes later Esteban Paredes fired home a Charles Aranguiz pass from the centre of the penalty area to double his team’s lead. Paredes would score his second 15 minutes later to effectively end proceedings just past the 20-minute mark.

Salomon Rondon pulled one back for Venezuela in the 63rd minute, but the game was out of reach for the visitors who are bottom of the qualifying table with no shot at a chance at Russia 2018.

  • Peru 2 – 1 Uruguay

Peru upset Uruguay 2-1 at the Estadio Nacional de Lima.

Carlos Sanchez put the visitors in front on the half hour, but goals from Paolo Guerrero and Edison Flores pulled the tie back in Peru’s favour.

Uruguay’s hopes of salvaging anything from the match were dashed when Pachuca winger Jonathan Urretaviscaya was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 76th minute.


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