The long and difficult qualifying process has started in South America. By far the most difficult World Cup qualifying on the planet as group play lasts over two years and involves every team playing a home and home. Eighteen games with everyone playing everyone. Much more taxing than the joke that takes place in Europe where none of the big boys ever play each other.
Matchday 1 produced some crazy results in which we saw both Argentina and Brazil lose on the same night for the first time in World Cup qualifying history! Three countries claimed two wins from their opening two matches as Ecuador, Chile and Uruguay hit the ground running raising hopes. Meanwhile, Argentina limped out of the gates with only a single point from two games while not even managing to score a single goal. Three teams opened in the worst possible way as Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela lost both.
-- Winners --
Chile - Defended home soil on matchday 1 by beating Brazil then followed that up by winning in Peru in a wild 4-3 thriller.
Ecuador - A dream start for a dark horse as Ecuador posted the shocking win in Argentina to open play.
Uruguay - Opened strongly winning in Bolivia before blasting Colombia 3-0 on home soil.
-- Treading Water --
Colombia & Brazil - both teams split their opening two winning on home soil and losing away. Both expecting more as qualifying continues.
-- The Losers --
Argentina - winless in their opening two matches is almost unthinkable. Sure no Messi and no Aguero contributed but we are still talking about Argentina here. Shutout in both matches.
Peru & Venezuela - two sides with World Cup hopes limped out of the gates losing both games leaving an uphill climb to dig out of the hole.