CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying wrap: Messi’s Argentina in trouble

AP Photo/Eugenio Savio
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Brazil and Uruguay gave themselves impressive cushions in their quest to qualify for World Cup qualifying, while third place and eighth are separated by four total points after Matchday 11 of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.

[ MORE: USMNT-Mexico primer ]

Barcelona’s superstars wearing No. 10 could not have had more different evenings. Lionel Messi couldn’t get anything going for hapless Argentina, watching as Neymar and Brazil throttled the visitors in a display that recalled the breathtaking, electric attacks of Brazil’s past.

All that and more in the wrap, including standings and Matchday 12 fixtures at bottom.

Brazil 3-0 Argentina

Brazil looks as good as ever, as Philippe Coutinho, Neymar, and Paulinho scored in the game’s first 60 minutes to boost Brazil well above the fray and — barring a shocking collapse — into Russia 2018. Lionel Messi and Argentina face a five-month stay outside the qualifying places if they can’t handle their business at home to Colombia on Tuesday.

Uruguay 2-1 Ecuador

The hosts will have a hard time missing out on Russia if they tried after first half goals from Sebastian Coates and Diego Rolan boosted Uruguay to a win over Ecuador, which got a goal from Felipe Caicedo.

Colombia 0-0 Chile

Chile’s new lease on World Cup life includes an impressive defensive display in Barranquilla. The draw moves Colombia third in the table, but that’s just two points ahead of sixth place Argentina. Chile is fifth, and would head to the interconfederation playoff if qualifying ended today.

Paraguay 1-4 Peru

The hosts needed this one, and took a ninth minute lead before it all came crashing down after halftime. Christian Ramos leveled the score in the 48th minute, and three goals in 13 minutes propelled Peru to within a point of seventh place Paraguay.

Venezuela 5-0 Bolivia

How dispirited was Bolivia after its recent ineligible player scandal led to four forfeited points? Judging by their performance at winless Venezuela, quite. Josef Martinez scored a hat trick to lift Venezuela out of the CONMEBOL qualifier basement.

STANDINGS
1. Brazil — 24 points
2. Uruguay — 23 points
3. Colombia — 18 points
4. Ecuador — 17 points
5. Chile — 17 points
6. Argentina — 16 points
7. Paraguay — 15 points
8. Peru — 14 points
9. Venezuela — 5 points
10. Bolivia — 4 points

Tuesday’s Matchday 12 (all times EDT)
Bolivia vs. Paraguay — 3 p.m.
Ecuador vs. Venezuela — 4 p.m.
Chile vs. Uruguay — 6:30 p.m.
Argentina vs. Colombia — 6:30 p.m.
Peru vs. Brazil — 8:15 p.m.