Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Ecuador have claimed the four South American berths on offer to the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011.
The quartet secured their passage by claiming an unassailable margin in the six-team competition ahead of Colombia and Paraguay.
Uruguay were the first nation to qualify thanks to a 3-2 victory over Colombia. The Uruguayans, knowing a victory was all that was required for a fifth appearance on the world junior stage, were in the driving seat from the start thanks to a first-half double from Juan Mascia, the tournament’s leading goalscorer. Although Colombia drew level in the second half, Gaston Silva scored the clincher with eight minutes remaining.
Tournament hosts Ecuador then inflicted a 2-1 defeat on Argentina, their first of the tournament. The locals were two goals to the good through Jose Cevallos and Luis Batioja, before Lucas Pugh pulled a goal back in the latter stages. Despite the defeat, Argentina ultimately advanced to their third consecutive FIFA U-17 World Cup, and eleventh overall, while 1995 tournament hosts Ecuador will be appearing for the third time. It is, however, the first time that Ecuador have won through the qualification process since 1987.
The final match of the day saw three-time FIFA U-17 world champion Brazil qualify for the 13th time. A 3-1 victory over Paraguay was achieved with goals from Guilherme, Clauio Wink and Lucas Piazon, despite a 1-1 scoreline at the half-time interval.
Saturday’s final round will determine the South American champion with Brazil leading the standings on 10 points followed by Uruguay 8, Argentina 7 and Ecuador 5. Brazil meet arch-rivals Argentina in the final round, while Uruguay face Ecuador.