Trio qualify amid tense South American finale

  • Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia qualify for Russia

  • Peru earn play-off spot as they chase first World Cup berth since 1982

  • Chile and Paraguay miss out on final day

Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia shored up South America’s final three tickets to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ amid a hugely dramatic final day of qualifying in the CONMEBOL region.

Peru’s hopes of ending their 36-year absence from the World Cup remain alive after they edged into fifth to earn a winner-takes-all two-legged intercontinental play-off against New Zealand.

With five matches played concurrently, the permutations changed on several occasions but ultimately it was Chile and Paraguay who were left heartbroken.

Uruguay opened the day in second and maintained that position with a 4-2 home win over Bolivia.

Argentina jumped into third with a 3-1 victory in Ecuador, though it took all of Lionel Messi’s remarkable powers to help the two-time world champions get over the line. Messi netted a superb hat-trick after Ecuador scored in the opening minute.

Colombia held onto the fourth and the final automatic spot thanks to a nailbiting 1-1 draw in Peru. The home side managed an equaliser with 16 minutes remaining to guarantee fifth place.

Chile’s 3-0 loss in Brazil meant the South American champions miss out on Russia due to goal difference.

Paraguay stumbled to a 1-0 home loss against Venezuela, in a match where a win would have been enough to edge Peru out of the play-off.