South American World Cup Qualification Round-Up>
South America was warm in parts this week and the race for Germany 2006 is hotting up as well, with the two old giants of South American football, first and scond respectively at the top of the qualification table.
Argentina fielded a rather under strength side for their game against Bolivia. It was a tough contest played at high altitude, in which Argentina took the lead through Jose Castillo. Bolivia fought hard and levelled matters but it was the Real Zaragoza frontman Luciano Galleti on 63 minutes that sealed the points and kept Argentina at the top of the table.
If Argentina continue to show consistency, they certainly have the depth in squad to cause problems at the 2006 World Cup.
Brazil had not scored in four and a half hours of football until their game against Peru. They grinded out a 1-0 win with a well worked goal which involved Ronaldinho and Ronaldo in the build up, with Milan’s Kaka sliding it in the back of the net.
Brazil closed the gap at the top of the group to two points on Argentina, with the whole world awaiting the mouthwatering encounter between these two teams on 7 June.
There was a seven goal thriller in Ecuador, as they entertained Paraguay. Paraguay went 2-0 up through goals from Jose Cardozo and Salvador Cabanas. Ecuador were not going to let the home fans down, putting in an excellent performance with Antonio Valencia bagging a brace of goals, they went on to win comfortably in a 5-2 thriller. Ecuador are almost a certainty for the World Cup finals; they are in great form and European teams beware, they are difficult to beat.
The last two fixtures of the weekend in South America were both draws. Chile and Uruguay was a 1-1 draw. Uruguay taking the lead in Santiago through a Mario Regueiro finish from a Diego Forlan cross. Diego Forlan a new man in Spain, hitting great form since his move from Manchester United.
Chile equalised though through good work from Marcelo Salas, to set up Milovan Mirosevic for the equaliser. Marcelo Salas believes Chile are a certainty for the finals, but they still have a lot of work to do before they can be described as a concrete fixture for Germany.
The other match was a goalless draw between Colombia and Venezuela. Colombia’s Mexican-based Goalkeeper, Miguel Calero was in fine form all game, even up until the last minute denying Hector Gonzalez at close range.
It really is all still to play for in the South American qualifying section, Argentina and Brazil are leading the pack, but there could still be surprise inclusions at Germany from Venezuela or even Peru.