Brazil vs Colombia
For the first time in the World Cup qualifiers for Qatar 2022, Brazil have dropped points and one could point a finger towards Tite and claim, the Brazilian head coach started with the wrong set of players and corrected it after the break. It is always tough to pick up the tempo after making a mess in the first half.
Both teams played an open game in the Caribbean heat but neither created many goalmouth chances, particularly in a stunted first hour.
The game came alive in the last half hour as both teams pushed for a winner, but both goalkeepers made excellent saves from long-range efforts to keep the game scoreless.
The result leaves Brazil at the top of the 10-team group on 28 points, nine ahead of Argentina, who play Uruguay later on Sunday. Colombia are fifth on 15 points.
The top four teams qualify automatically for Qatar and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.
Brazil are still unbeaten after 10 qualifiers but their short passes in and around the box were met with a resolute Colombian defence, especially in the first half in front of a passionate crowd in Barranquilla.
After an uneventful first 45 minutes, the game burst into life as the second half went on.
Brazil’s Alisson was the busier of the two keepers, thwarting long-range efforts from Mateus Uribe and Juan Fernando Quintero, while at the other end, substitutes Antony and Raphinha breathed life into the Brazilian attack and forced vital saves from David Ospina.
Argentina vs Uruguay
After the frustrating display against Paraguay Argentina bounced back extremely well against one of the toughest opponents in world football who are habituated to raise their game against Argentina and Brazil. But this time around, the Uruguayans were thrashed by La Albiceleste who essayed a thumping 3-0 victory.
Eight minutes before the break Messi floated a 35-meter pass into the area but it was missed by both advancing striker Nicolas Gonzalez and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and somehow sneaked into the net.
Six minutes later Lautaro Martinez swung and missed at a chance on the edge of the box but the loose ball fell into the path of Rodrigo De Paul who made no mistake.
Martinez made up for the miss when he converted a low cross from De Paul 17 minutes into the second half.
The win, combined with Brazil’s 0-0 draw at Colombia earlier in the day, narrows the gap between leaders Brazil and second-placed Argentina to six points at the top of the 10-team South American qualifying group.
The top four teams qualify automatically for Qatar and the fifth-placed side go into an inter-regional playoff.
Uruguay, who ended the day fourth in the 10-team table, were unbeaten in eight matches coming into Sunday’s match.
They took the game to their rivals, with Luis Suarez coming close on three occasions in the first half-hour, including one thunderous shot that came back off the post.
Argentina grew as the game went on, though, and Giovani Lo Celso missed a golden chance to open the scoring when he rounded the goalkeeper but delayed before striking a shot that hit the underside of the bar and the goal line before rolling to safety.
After the home side drew first blood they never looked like losing an unbeaten run that now stands at 24 games.
Edinson Cavani came on in the second half for Uruguay but it was Argentina who had the better chances in an entertaining game that featured only 15 fouls and no cautions.
Messi came close to getting his second and substitute Angel Di Maria could have made it four on two occasions only to twice see Muslera parry his goal-bound shots.