Summary of the qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup, which took place on Thursday.
Ecuador is one victory away from returning to the World Cup after a 1-1 draw at home to South American qualifier leader Brazil.
Coach Gustavo Alfaro’s team will qualify for Qatar if they beat Peru next week.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Chile, once a force in the region, saw a drastic reduction in its chances after losing 2-1 to second-placed Argentina, which gave Lionel Messi a break for the match.
The Chileans will have to achieve good results in Bolivia and Brazil, and their last match in the race will probably be in Santiago against the bitter rival Uruguay.
Meanwhile, Uruguay returned to the dispute after a 1-0 victory over Paraguay with a goal by veteran Luis Suarez.
This was the team’s first victory for new coach Diego Alonso, who took over after veteran Oscar Tabares was fired due to poor results.
Brazil (36 points) and Argentina (32) have already qualified for the World Cup.
Ecuador has 24 points, five ahead of Uruguay. Colombia and Peru, who will clash in Barranquilla, Colombia, on Friday, are 17 points behind.
Chile is 16 and could be overtaken by Bolivia (15), which will travel to Venezuela – the only team in the region that has no dispute over space.
South America has four direct places for the World Cup, and the fifth team will play an international playoff place.
The United States and Canada have won to lead the CONCACAF World Cup
Canada and the United States stayed on for World Cup qualifiers with decisive victories on Thursday as Mexico resumed its campaign with a victory over Jamaica.
Canada, which wants to qualify for the 1986 World Cup, scored a disciplined 2-0 away win over Honduras in San Pedro Sula to stay at the top of the CONCACAF standings with 19 points from nine games.
The United States – desperate to qualify for this year’s tournament after its shocking failure to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia – has increased its chances of qualifying with a 1-0 victory over El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio.
In other matches Thursday, Mexico ended its two-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Jamaica at Kingston.
Mexico is one point behind the United States with 17 points from nine games.
Costa Rica beat Panama 1-0 with a goal by Brian Ruiz, leaving Panama three points behind Mexico in the standings and Costa Rica two points behind.
The first three teams qualify automatically for the finals in Qatar, and the fourth team qualifies for the playoffs.