Soccer

Colombia beats Ecuador, closes on World Cup berth

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BARRANQUILLA, Colombia (AP)

Colombia moved to the brink of qualification for next year's World Cup by winning 1-0 at home against Ecuador on Friday in South American qualifying.

James Rodriguez scored in the 30th minute.

Colombia improved to 26 points from 13 matches, equal with leader Argentina. Colombia is guaranteed of at least fifth spot in the group and a resultant intercontinental playoff, and realistically looks certain to qualify automatically from the top four.

Ecuador has 21 points in 13 matches and is also in a strong position to qualify.

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