South America

Peru beat Bolivia in clash of South American football weaklings

Peru beat Bolivia in clash of South American football weaklings Lima  - Peru beat Bolivia 1-0 Wednesday in Lima in a clash between the two weakest teams in the South American World Cup qualifiers.

Both Bolivia and Peru had long been out of the race for a place in South Africa 2010.

Johan Fano scored the lone goal in the 53rd minute of a very poor-quality match.

Brazil, Paraguay and Chile have already qualified for the World Cup. Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador were playing later Wednesday, with one last berth and the chance to take part in a play-off still at stake.  dpa

Ecuador beat Bolivia 3-1 to keep up World Cup hopes

FootballLa Paz - Ecuador obtained a vital 3-1 win against Bolivia Wednesday in La Paz to keep up their hopes of playing the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Edison Mendez put the visitors ahead just four minutes into the game, while Luis Valencia scored a brace for Ecuador in the 46th and 56th minutes. Gerardo Yacerotte scored the lone goal for Bolivia in the 86th minute.

"We were able to play for a win, and now we can keep dreaming," Mendez said after the game.

Fans in La Paz showed their displeasure with their team, and cheered Ecuador's play with "ole."

World Cup berth at stake as Argentina visit Paraguay

World Cup berth at stake as Argentina visit Paraguay Buenos Aires  - Argentina were stunned by a weekend defeat against Brazil, but they may end up knocked out altogether if the fail to win Wednesday in Paraguay.

Argentine fans are seriously wondering whether their team - a football powerhouse and the winner of two editions of the World Cup - can actually miss South Africa 2010. And that is so far a very real possibility.

Brazil have already qualified for the World Cup, while Paraguay and Chile only need to get a point in three matches to seal their berths.

Chile, Uruguay draw in clash of direct rivals

Chile, Uruguay draw in clash of direct rivals Santiago  - Chile and Uruguay played out a goalless draw Wednesday in Santiago, in a clash between rivals for South America's spots in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Both teams obtained key wins over the weekend to boost their chances of playing in the World Cup and sought to build momentum Wednesday.

A header from Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez hit the crossbar in the 24th minute, before Mauricio Isla was sent off for the hosts in the 33rd minute. In the second half, Uruguay looked closer to opening the score, but the goalless draw persisted until the final whistle.

Botero hat-trick hero as Bolivia stun Argentina 6-1

Botero hat-trick hero as Bolivia stun Argentina 6-1 La Paz  - Former world top scorer Joaquin Botero was the hat- trick hero for Bolivia as they stunned Argentina 6-1 Wednesday in the South American World Cup qualifiers.

"Bolivia was better than us and gave us a thrashing that would have seemed impossible if we had thought about it before the game," Argentina coach Diego Maradona said. "They did well to beat us, and we have to start again. Bolivia has been better than us in every corner of the pitch."

EXTRA: Maradona says thrashing is "inexplicable"

Argentina coach Diego Maradona La Paz  - Argentina coach Diego Maradona admitted Wednesday that his men were overpowered in every aspect of the game they lost 6-1 to Bolivia in La Paz, in a phenomenon that he described as "inexplicable."

"The whole of Bolivia played very well," he admitted. "They played good football."

As for his own men, Maradona was critical and said they did nothing of what they had planned ahead of the match.

"Argentina surprised me. I was surprised by the fact that they created so many chances," he said.

Botero hat-trick hero as Bolivia stun Argentina 6-1 win

Joaquin BoteroLa Paz  - Former world top scorer Joaquin Botero was the hat- trick hero for Bolivia on Wednesday as they stunned Argentina 6-1 on Wednesday in the South American World Cup qualifiers.

Botero, who scored 49 goals for Club Bolivar in 2002, scored from the spot in the first half and then added two in the second half to give his side a hugely popular victory against Diego Maradona's team.

Marcelo Martins put the hosts ahead in the 11th minute, but Luis Gonzalez equalized for the two-time world champions 13 minutes later. However, Botero gave his side the lead again in the 33rd minute, and Alex da Rosa widened the gap before the break.

Brazil stumbles with 1-1 draw in Ecuador

Brazil stumbles with 1-1 draw in EcuadorQuito  - Brazil seemed lucky Sunday to be getting a win against Ecuador, but its rival equalized just one minute before the end of the game at high altitude in Quito, in the South American qualifiers towards the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Julio Baptista put Brazil ahead in the score in the 72nd minute. He had come into the pitch for a lacklustre Ronaldinho just a minute earlier, and his long-range effort hit the base of the near post before bouncing on the back of the Ecuadorian keeper and finding the net.

Maradona: "It's a pleasure to see Messi like this"

Maradona: "It's a pleasure to see Messi like this" Buenos Aires  - Argentina coach Diego Maradona on Saturday praised Lionel Messi for his performance in the 4-0 win over Venezuela in Buenos Aires.

"Seeing Messi like this everyday is a pleasure. We should all leave the stadium, pay for another ticket and go in again," Maradona said.

Messi - who for the first time wore the number 10 Argentina jersey that was once worn by Maradona himself - was the man of the match in the resounding win. The Barcelona striker scored a goal and was decisively involved in two others.

Messi hands Maradona luxury 4-0 win in debut

Messi hands Maradona luxury 4-0 win in debutBuenos Aires  - Lionel Messi rose to the challenge of wearing the historic number 10 Argentina jersey by leading his side to a comfortable 4-0 win over Venezuela Saturday in Buenos Aires, in Diego Maradona's official debut as Argentine national team coach.

Argentina thus redressed its course in the South American qualifiers towards the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and now stand second on 19 points from 11 games, four points ahead of leader Paraguay.

Uruguay down Paraguay to open South American qualifiers

Uruguay down Paraguay to open South American qualifiers Montevideo  - Uruguay beat the mighty Paraguay by 2-0 Saturday, to add excitement to the South American qualifiers towards the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Paraguay - who lost in Montevideo in a game where they could not impose their trademark play - remain comfortable atop the qualifiers table. Even if second-placed Brazil beat Ecuador Sunday, Paraguay would retain a three-point lead with 23 points from 11 games.

Rally Dakar to return to South America in 2010, Chile says

Rally Dakar to return to South America in 2010, Chile says Santiago  - The Rally Dakar is set to be held in South America again in 2010, the Chilean government said Tuesday.

The Chilean government's Chief of Staff Francisco Vidal said Rally Dakar organizers had confirmed the plan, which would give Chile a larger number of stages than it had in the 2009 edition.

This year was the first time that the classic extreme motorsport competition took place completely outside Africa. Fourteen stages were held in January in Argentina and Chile, and proved to be very popular with local spectators.

Evo Morales claims to have weathered coup attempt

Evo Morales claims to have weathered coup attemptSantiago - Bolivian President Evo Morales on Monday in Santiago de Chile alleged that governors of restive regions attempted to topple his government.

He arrived Monday in the Chilean capital to attend a summit of South American presidents, who were expected to discuss the Bolivian crisis.

Morales said that the attempted coup d'etat included "occupation of institutions, looting and robbery from state institutions, attempts to attack the national police and the armed forces, and terrorist actions."

Bolivian head to polls as recall vote tests Evo Morales

Bolivian President Evo MoralesBuenos Aires/La Paz - Sunday's recall election of Bolivian President Evo Morales and other leaders is the latest in a series of showdown referenda, between the leftist president and the country's wealthy provinces, over regional autonomy.

Since Morales' election in 2005, the country's first Indio president has pushed through a new constitution and enacted a series of socialist reforms to aid the poor native population in the mountainous west.




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