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CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying: Tight table gets tighter (video)

APTOPIX Chile Paraguay Wcup Soccer

Chile’s Alexis Sanchez, right, falls as he fights for the ball with Paraguay’s Richard Ortiz, left, during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)


South American qualifying for the World Cup was fascinating and close before matches began on Thursday.

[ MORE: USMNT-Costa Rica preview ]

Now, it’s even tighter.

With three matches to play, only Brazil is safe. Their win over Ecuador on Thursday means it will finish first place in CONMEBOL.

Peru beat Bolivia in Lima during the late game, meaning every non-eliminated team is could be in an automatic qualifying spot or outside the Top Four altogether after the international break.

This was not a good day for Alexis Sanchez, whose move away from Arsenal failed to materialize hours before he couldn’t help engineer a home win against Paraguay (the visitors now knocking on the door of the Top Five.

Brazil 2-0 Ecuador

New Barcelona man Paulinho and hopeful Barcelona man Philippe Coutinho scored in the 69th and 76th minutes to lift Brazil 11 points clear of second-place Colombia.

Also, full marks to the social media person here:

Chile 0-3 Paraguay

A rocket own goal from Arturo Vidal started Chile on its way to a shocking score line, with Victor Caceres and Richard Ortiz also scoring as Paraguay climbed up the table.

Venezuela 0-0 Colombia

The hosts had already been eliminated from contention for a place in Russia, and still managed to outshoot Los Cafeteros en route to a point that keeps Colombia’s World Cup plans very much in question. Venezuela’s Josef Martinez (Atlanta United) led the match in shots with four, while Radamel Falcao paced the visitors with three.

Uruguay 0-0 Argentina

Luis Suarez’s hosts are now a point back of second-place Colombia, while Lionel Messi’s Argentina sits two points back in fifth.

Peru 2-1 Bolivia

Table Brazil -- 36 points (qualified) Colombia -- 25 points Uruguay -- 24 points Chile -- 23 points Argentina -- 23 points (CONMEBOL-OFC playoff) Paraguay -- 21 points

Peru -- 21 points

Ecuador -- 20 points

Bolivia - 10 points (eliminated) Venezuela -- 7 points (eliminated)

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