Sunday, September 6, 2009

South America: Brazil beats Argentina to reach World Cup

ROSARIO, Argentina (AP) -- Brazil qualified for its 19th consecutive World Cup, outplaying Argentina 3-1 Saturday night in a match that left its South American rival in a precarious position.

Luisao put the five-time World Cup champions ahead in the 24th minute, and Luis Fabiano scored in the 30th and 67th. Jesus Datolo got Argentina's goal in the 65th.

Brazil (8-1-6) leads South American qualifying with 30 points, while Argentina (6-5-4) is fourth with 22 points with three matches remaining. The top four teams advance to next year's tournament, while the No. 5 nation goes to a playoff against the No. 4 nation in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Brazil became the seventh nation to join host South Africa in next year's 32-nation field, following Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, North Korea and South Korea and the Netherlands

The defeat could cost Argentina coach Diego Maradona his job. The Albiceleste play at Paraguay on Wednesday, then close South American qualifying at home against Peru on Oct. 10 and at Uruguay three or four days later.

Argentina benefited from Colombia's 2-0 victory over Ecuador on Saturday. Had Ecuador won, it would have moved ahead of Argentina.