Brazil advances at cruising speed in the South American qualifiers for the next World Cup. Tite’s team maintained its overwhelming pace against Ecuador, with full victories after the first five dates, despite all the controversy that has surrounded the reassignment of the Copa América headquarters from June 13 in the South American giant, a decision resisted by the Canarinha players. A mutiny with an uncertain outcome, led by Casemiro, the starter in the victory over the Ecuadorians (2-0), with which the selection continues at the top of the table with 15 points, escorted by Lionel Messi’s Argentina, who also remains undefeated although they have yielded two draws.
The duel that closed the date this Friday in Porto Alegre represented the expected return of Neymar, who could not be in the previous double round but had scored three goals in the first two games. Before the end of the first half, the Paris Saint Germain star had already tested the Ecuadorian goalkeeper Alexander Domínguez with a shot from outside the area. In the second half, Neymar assisted Richarlison, who opened the scoring with a shot that doubled the hands of the Argentine Velez Sarsfield goalkeeper. In the last gasp, 10 scored with a penalty charge that Domínguez stopped him at first but the referee forced him to repeat. It is Neymar’s fourth goal in these qualifying rounds.
The Argentines remain in second place in the standings with 11 points, although the day before they gave up a draw in Santiago del Estero against Chile (1-1), with goals from Messi and Alexis Sánchez. Gustavo Alfaro’s surprising Ecuador is third with nine units despite the defeat.
Paraguay remains in the qualifying zone for now and Uruguay occupies the playoff spot, but Colombia has been, by far, the biggest beneficiary of the day. The postponed debut of Reinaldo Rueda at the head of the team resulted in a 0-3 win away from Peru, a result that allows him to revive after the resounding defeats suffered against Uruguay (0-3) and Ecuador (1-6) in the double date above. Those falls had left the coffee growers on the brink of the abyss and cost the Portuguese Carlos Queiroz his job, who was shipwrecked on his South American adventure.
For now, Rueda has managed to put out the fire. Without counting on the references of Radamel Falcao García or James Rodríguez for the first time in a long time, since both ended the European football season with physical problems, Colombia entrusted itself to the veteran and unbalanced Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, the allfielder of Juventus. Ahead, Rueda lined up Duván Zapata and Luis Fernando Muriel, the fashionable couple at Atalanta. But it was a central defender, the gigantic Yerry Mina, the surprising coffee scorer in Russia 2018, who led the match for Colombia with a header.
Before the end of the first half, Miguel Trauco was sent off for repeated fouls on Cuadrado, and Colombia took advantage of that extra man to seal the win at the beginning of the second half with another header from Mateus Uribe and a powerful shot from Luis Díaz, another couple. of companions in Porto. When Daniel Muñoz was sent off, who was barely a couple of minutes on the court, Colombia resisted the last half hour of the game without much pressure, with an omnipresent Cuadrado as a right back.
Colombia barely climbed one position in the table, from seventh to sixth place, and is still outside the qualifying zone. But he reached the same 7 points in fourth place, benefited by the goalless draw of Charrúa and Guaraníes in Montevideo. The three teams are even on points, separated only by goal difference, a drag that Rueda still has to overcome if he wants to set the course.
After visiting Lima, Colombia receives Argentina on Tuesday in a match whose headquarters is still shrouded in uncertainty. The game is scheduled in Barranquilla, but there are protests against the government of Iván Duque that have been going on for more than a month. Demonstrations and riots have already forced the interruption of two Copa Libertadores club matches in the Caribbean city last month, which were played amid tear gas that came from outside the stadium. They also cost Colombia the Copa América venue. In other games on the last day prior to the continental tournament, Brazil visits Paraguay, Ecuador is measured in the height from Quito to Peru, Chile is local to Bolivia and Venezuela to Uruguay.
Bolivia finally tasted victory after five games. His 3-1 victory over Venezuela at the height of La Paz allowed him to leave the bottom of the table, where Peru is now buried, which has barely scratched a draw. That result also catapulted Marcelo Martins, Bolivia’s all-time top scorer, author of his second double in these ties, to first place among the scorers. The Cruzeiro striker accumulates five goals, with which he surpasses Uruguayan Luis Suárez, Chilean Arturo Vidal, Paraguayan Ángel Romero and now Neymar, who have added four.
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