In a show of solidarity, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez modeled a uniform with No. 20 on the front and Argentina’s Lionel Messi stood alongside him wearing No. 30. The gesture by the Barcelona teammates came on the same day that the two nations – and possibly Paraguay and Chile, too – announced a proposal to jointly bid for the 2030 World Cup.
The World Cup qualifier that followed on Thursday barely matched the pregame excitement.
The bitter rivals drew 0-0 in Montevideo, a result that did little for either team as they scramble to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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Brazil has already advanced, but the other three automatic berths are wide open. One more team from the region can also advance via an intercontinental playoff.
Uruguay edged up to 24 points in seven games, and Argentina reached 23.
Colombia struggled without injured forward James Rodriguez and suspended defender Yerry Mina and had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Venezuela. Venezuela has no chance to reach next year’s World Cup, and the draw did not help Colombia. Colombia has 25 points in seven matches. Colombia has not won in Venezuela since 1996.
CHILE ALSO FALLS
Paraguay had not won in the Chilean capital since 2007. That’s all changed, and the 3-0 victory is a giant boost for Paraguay and a major disappointment for La Roja.
Paraguay took the lead in the 23rd minute on an own-goal by Chile’s Arturo Vidal. It was a stunning header, flicked into the net. Unfortunately for Vidal, it was the wrong net.
Victor Caceres made it 2-0 in the 54th, and Richard Ortiz finished it off in second-half stoppage time.
Paraguay improved to 21 points and Chile stayed on 23.
In late matches, Brazil faced Ecuador and Peru played Bolivia.