Central & South America

Peru Suspends League Play To Put Focus Squarely On World Cup Playoff vs. New Zealand

It’s been 35 years since Peru’s last appearance at a FIFA World Cup finals, a streak of hurt dating back to the 1982 tournament in Spain. By improbably finishing fifth in CONMEBOL qualifying, ahead of back-to-back Copa America champions Chile and 2014 finalists Ecuador, a home-and-away playoff against Oceania representative New Zealand is the only thing standing in the way of Peru punching their ticket to Russia. 

Lionel Messi Nets Two In Eight Minutes, Gives Argentina 2-1 Lead At Half

You know what Kobe Bryant once said: “You shake a tree and a leopard is gonna fall out.” Well, Ecuador shook the tree. Ecuador's Romario Ibarra netted a nifty little goal off a couple of give-and-go headers and La Albiceleste were off to a nightmarish start. Then the leopard fell out.

Lionel Messi is the leopard. Messi went on to score two goals just eight minutes apart (12’ and 20’) to give Argentina life on the last day of this crazy CONMEBOL qualifying campaign.

Messi goal vs Ecuador #1

CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying Is A Mess But We’re Here To Sort It Out For You

CONMEBOL is fun, guys. Through 17 games only one team out of 10 — Brazil — has clinched its spot in the 2018 World Cup. Six teams still have a chance for the remaining three automatic qualifying berths, with one more team qualifying for the intercontinental playoff against New Zealand. Five of those teams control their own destiny. On Tuesday, all 10 teams play in five matches kicking off simultaneously with South American World Cup hopes on the line. 

Watch The National Stadium Of Costa Rica Go Bonkers After Last-Second World Cup Qualification

It took Costa Rica all of 95 minutes to accomplish the feat, but in the end, Kendall Waston’s stoppage time equalizer secured the nation’s qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. It was another surreal moment in Los Ticos’ qualifying campaign, one that’s seen them defeat the United States twice and finish second behind only Mexico in CONCACAF’s Hexagonal round.

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