Maradona on the brink as Argentina suffer another blow in World Cup bid
10 September 2009 06:25
Diego Maradona has vowed to fight on after Argentina suffered another setback in their bid to reach the World Cup.
The legend of the game watched on in horror as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Paraguay, who sealed their spot at next summer's finals in South Africa thanks to Nelson Haedo Valdez's goal.
Argentina now sit in fifth spot after a fourth defeat in five South American qualifiers. They are on course to face a play-off match with a team from the CONCAF group to reach the World Cup.
'I never imagined myself being in this situation, I thought we would be much higher,' admitted Maradona. 'But this is the reality.
'Despite everything we still have a chance, we still aren't out of the World Cup. While I have a dot of blood I will do everything for Argentina to qualify.
'There's no drama. In 1994 we had to travel 24 hours for a playoff. No-one died due to playing it, and at the end we qualified for the World Cup. We are still alive.'
Argentina, who had former Manchester United midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron sent off, face Peru at home and Uruguay away in their final two qualifying matches.
In Salvador, a hat-trick by Nilmar gave already-qualified Brazil a 4-2 win over Chile, who need only one more point to progress to the finals.
Julio Baptista scored Brazil's other goal, while Humberto Suazo equalised for the visitors. Felipe Melo and Alexis Sanchez were both sent off.
Ecuador climbed to fourth in the standings thanks to a 3-1 away win over Bolivia, despite high altitude. They are now one point above Argentina.
Edison Mendez, Manchester United midfielder Luis Valencia and Cristian Benitez gave Sixto Vizuete's side the win at 3,600metres above the sea level in La Paz, while Gerardo Yecerotte reduced the deficit with four minutes to go.
In Montevideo, Uruguay defeated Colombia 3-1 and still dream of a direct qualification as they lie one point below Argentina.
Venezuela keep their hopes alive as a brace by Nicolas Fedor helped the Vinotinto beat already-eliminated Peru 3-1.