Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 25th 2017 Contents A50 sports
guardian.co.tt Saturday, March 25, 2017
Brazil destroys Uruguay
SAO PAULO---The mood is defi-
nitely different in South America's
two football powerhouses.
While a smiley Neymar celebrated
Brazil's outstanding form in World
Cup qualifiers wearing an Uruguay
shirt given to him by his Barcelona
teammate Luis Suarez, a strangely
argumentative Lionel Messi refused
to shake hands with a linesman after
a narrow Argentina win over Chile.
After thrashing Uruguay 4-1 at the
Estadio Centenario in Montevideo on
Thursday, Brazil will secure its spot in
next year's World Cup if it beats Par-
aguay in Sao Paulo in the next round
and Ecuador and Chile, which are fifth
and sixth, lose. If that happens, coach
Tite's side will be the first country to
qualify for the tournament.
Argentina, which was runner-up
in the 2014 World Cup, is in a much
The unconvincing 1-0 win over Chile
in Buenos Aires, after Messi scored
from a controversial penalty, moved
Edgardo Bauza's side third in the table.
A defeat would have left it sixth with
only five games to play.
Argentina faces a rested Bolivian
team in the altitude of La Paz next
week. Most of Bolivia's starting play-
ers did not go to Colombia for the 1-0
The last time Argentina won at 3,600
meters high was in 2005. In the 2010
World Cup qualifiers, a squad led by
Messi lost 6-1 to the hosts. A defeat in
the Andes could mean falling to fifth
A few months ago it was totally dif-
ferent world, with Argentina aiming for
titles and Brazil lagging sixth. But sev-
en straight wins in the qualifiers under
Tite brought confidence back after two
early eliminations in the past two edi-
tions of the Copa America, lackluster
performances and the persistence of
the 7-1 trauma against the Germans in
its home World Cup in 2014.
"This was more than I had imagined.
I still don't have the dimension of how
much this team could still grow (until
Russia)," Tite said in a press confer-
ence in Uruguay. "I don't even want to
know about the other games and the
table. I don't do math, I focus on the
performance and this was remarkable
because for the first time the team had
to react (after trailing)."
Neymar believes that the away vic-
tory over second place Uruguay proves
that Brazil is already mature and expe-
rienced, which should count in Russia.
"This is important for the future.
We did not feel shaken after they
scored their goal, we knew there was
still a lot of time. We have to keep our
cool, and that's what we did here,"
Argentinians cannot start thinking
of Russia just yet, but their problems
are clear, as a headline of daily Ole sug-
gests. With a picture of Messi pointing
to the skies, it reads: "Without him,
we are nothing."
And there are figures to back that up:
Argentina scored 83% of their points
with their main man on the pitch, but
without him that number falls to 33%.
The Barcelona star did not speak to
the press after the match because of
the team's boycott to the media. Bauza
denied that his team depends on Messi
and promised less suffering to fans in
"It was key to win this match. As
we have more time to work, we will
improve," he said after the game at the
Monumental de Nunez.
But next Tuesday Brazil will once
again be revelling in a party-like at-
mosphere while Argentina feels the
pressure every minute. (AP)
Brazil's Paulinho celebrates his hat trick during a 2018 World Cup qualifying
soccer match against Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Thursday. Brazil
won the match 4-1. AP PHOTOS
Argentinaís Lionel Messi leaves the pitch after a 2018 Russia World
Cup qualifying soccer match between Argentina and Chile at the
Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Thursday.
Argentina won the match 1-0.
World Cup (UEFA Qualification)
Georgia 1, Serbia 3
Austria 2, Moldova 0
Ireland 0, Wales 0
Italy 2, Albania 0
Liechtenstein 0, FYR Macedonia 3
Spain 4, Israel 1
Turkey 2, Finland 0
Croatia 1, Ukraine 0
Kosovo 1, Iceland 2
Africa Cup of Nations (Qualification)
Comoros 2, Mauritius 0
Comoros 2, Mauritius 0
Libya 0, Togo 0
Mauritania 1, Benin 0
Russia 0, Ivory Coast 2
Tunisia 0, Cameroon 1
Guinea 2, Gabon 2
Morocco 2, Burkina Faso 0
...as Argentina survives in qualifiers
YESTERDAY'S FOOTBALL RESULTS
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