With only one spot remaining at the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005, the clash between old enemies Chile and Uruguay on 5 February was always going to be a tense affair. The Chileans though, thanks to a heroic performance from rising star Matias Fernandez, did just enough to draw 2-2 and edge out the courageous Celeste on goal difference.
18-year-old Fernandez, of legendary Chilean club Colo Colo, is renowned for his ability on set pieces. So it was no surprise when the winger opened the scoring with a sizzling free kick from 20 yards in the 24th minute.
A draw would not have been enough for the Uruguayans. Left with no option but to attack, they hit out on a frenzied series of forays forward. Their dangerous tactics left gaping holes at the back, and the Chileans began to look like extending their lead with some lightning-quick counter-attacks. But after a few good chances, they were unable to finish off their opponents. And against the run of play, the Uruguayans managed to equalise with a Sergio Rodriguez header just minutes before the half.
In an agonising start to the second half, Alonso missed a golden opportunity to give Uruguay the lead. He was made to rue his wasteful finishing, when Fernandez hit his second free kick on the day and his fifth goal of the South American qualifying tournament in the 62nd minute.
Though the brave Uruguayans equalised again through Cristian Rodriguez in the 78th minute, it was too-little-too-late and the game ended in a 2-2 draw. The result was just enough to see Chile through by virtue of a slightly superior goal difference. They will join Colombia, Brazil and Argentina in the Netherlands in June and July in what will be only their fourth appearance at a World Youth finals.