Argentina shocked as history made
© AFP

Venezuela and Paraguay have joined Brazil and Uruguay in qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009, but reigning world champions Argentina will not be venturing to the African continent following a dramatic final day in the South American preliminary tournament.

Argentina, six-time U-20 world champions and winner of the last two tournaments, needed a victory on the final day of action to have any chance of defending their crown at the 2009 edition. However, a 66th-minute strike from Ricardo Chara saw Colombia prevail 1-0 and ensured the Albiceleste will miss their first FIFA U-20 World Cup since 1993, as Sergio Batista's men finished bottom of the six-team tournament without recording a solitary win.

At the other end of the spectrum, Venezuela are celebrating their first-ever appearance in a FIFA tournament after sewing up the fourth and final qualifying berth courtesy of a 3-1 win over Uruguay. It was a deserved victory for the Vinotinto, who after being level at half-time, pulled ahead through an Agustin Pena own goal, before Rafael Acosta scored a superb individual goal with 20 minutes remaining to seal the match and initiate wild celebrations.

The final match of the tournament saw heartbreak for Colombia, who were squeezed out of the final qualifying spot by Paraguay, who defied the form book to book their ticket to Egypt. Paraguay's Hernan Perez scored the all-important goal ten minutes after the interval to knock over the previously undefeated Brazil.

Venezuela and Paraguay join Uruguay and championship winners Brazil as the four South American representatives at Egypt 2009.

South American U-20 championship table:

Brazil (12 points) - champion *
Paraguay (8) *
Uruguay (7 / -2)*
Venezuela (7 / -3)*
Colombia (6)
Argentina (2)

* Qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009