- South American qualifying for Qatar 2022 kicked-off on Thursday
- Wins for Uruguay and Argentina; Paraguay and Peru in action-packed draw
- Review all the action as it happened with FIFA.com
The road to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ officially got underway in South America on Thursday.
Arguably the world’s most arduous and competitive of all continental journeys duly delivered, with three tightly contested matches and superstar names on the scoresheet.
Luis Suarez had the honour of scoring the first goal in Qatar 2022 South American zone qualifiers. His penalty was cancelled out by Chile captain Alexis Sanchez soon after the break in Montevideo, but Uruguay snatched all three points with a dramatic Maxi Gomez winner three minutes into added time.
There was similar late drama amid a second-half goal flurry in Asuncion. Substitute Angel Romero netted a double within 15 minutes for Paraguay, but Peru’s Andre Carrillo scored at each end of the second period – the latter with just five minutes remaining – to ensure the Russia 2018 participants avoided defeat in their opening Qatar 2022 qualifier.
In Buenos Aires, meanwhile, Lionel Messi once again grabbed the headlines as his lone early penalty proved enough for Argentina to edge victory over Ecuador. The Argentina skipper slotted home in the 13th-minute as the two-time world champions made a low-key start to their campaign at an eerily quiet Bombonera.
Stars immediately find their range
Luiz Suarez extended his Uruguay national record to 60 international goals in scoring the opener against Chile. It was also another slice of history for the record-breaker as he grabbed the maiden goal in South America’s road to Qatar 2022.
Lionel Messi is not one to be left behind and the Argentinian megastar did likewise in extending his national record tally to 71. The first-half penalty-spot winner against Ecuador leaves Messi having now scored in five World Cup qualifying campaigns.
Despite failing to take all three points thanks to Peru’s late equaliser, Paraguay will be hoping they have turned a corner. La Albirroja had lost four of their past five home World Cup qualifiers, including a hefty 4-1 defeat against Peru during the last qualifying cycle.
Did you know?
- Paraguay have lost four of their last five home qualifiers (including that 4-1 loss to Peru); it’s their worst streak ever in the competition
- Uruguay have never lost at home to Chile, with 21 wins and seven draws in their 28 matches
- Twenty of the 23 goals Chile scored in the Russia 2018 qualifiers were scored or assisted by Alexis Sanchez (seven goals, four assists), Arturo Vidal (six goals) or Eduardo Vargas (five goals)
- Argentina have lost only one of their last eight matches against Ecuador, but that defeat was a shock 2-0 loss in October 2015 at the Monumental
Friday 9 October