Buenos Aires: Chile beat Ecuador 2-1 in their closing South American qualifier in Santiago on Tuesday as both went through automatically to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
The result consigned Uruguay, despite beating group winners Argentina 3-2, to a play-off against Jordan next month for one more berth in the finals. In Montevideo, midfielder Cristian Rodriguez, striker Luis Suarez with a penalty and Edinson Cavani scored for Uruguay with Maxi Rodriguez, Argentina captain in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi, replying twice.
Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador occupied the top four automatic qualifying places in the nine-nation group with Uruguay going into the play-off next month, despite catching Ecuador on 25 points but having an inferior goal difference.
They will face Asia qualifiers Jordan over two legs in their fourth consecutive play-off, having taken that route to the 2002 and 2010 finals and being eliminated by Australia at the same stage in the qualifiers for the 2006 finals.
Colombia, who had qualified on Friday, ended their campaign on a winning note with a 2-1 victory over Paraguay in Asuncion, both their goals coming from central defender Mario Yepes.
Chile striker Alexis Sanchez and midfielder Gary Medel scored in the first half for Chile with Felipe Caicedo pulling one back for the Ecuadoreans.
Chilean pressure was rewarded in 35th minute when Sanchez scored with a header and Medel doubled their lead two minutes later connecting with Sanchez’s header following a Marcelo Diaz corner.
“This team deserve to be at the World Cup. We dedicate this to Chucho’s memory,” Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda said referring to striker Cristian Benitez, who died suddenly of heart failure in July.
“Only this family (the team) knows how much we miss him. We have to work hard so that we arrive at the World Cup in high spirits,” the Colombian said.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, who took over from sacked fellow Argentine Claudio Borghi midway through the qualifiers, said he had never imagined going to the World Cup. “This is a very strong team. Now we have to improve even more to play the World Cup with chances to go far. I never imagined this, I can’t even measure it now,” he said.
Uruguay, who also hit the woodwork twice in a fast-paced Rio de La Plata clasico at the Centenario, took an early lead when Argentina failed to clear a free-kick by Suarez and the ball reached the unmarked Cristian Rodriguez who scored with a rising shot.