Coloccini Heads To Brazil

11 September 2013 01:30
Two Lionel Messi penalties helped Argentina become the first team from the Conmebol qualifying zone to secure their place at next summer's World Cup finals with a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Paraguay in Asuncion.

Jose Nunez cancelled out Messi's early opener, but further goals from Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Messi again put Alejandro Sabella's Albicelestes firmly in control.Roque Santa Cruz grabbed a second goal in the 86th minute, but Maxi Rodriguez swiftly restored the visitors' three-goal cushion in the final minute to ensure Argentina qualified for next year's tournament in Brazil in some style - and with two games to spare.Barcelona forward Messi got the Argentinians off to the perfect start by converting a 12th-minute spot-kick after Aguero had been fouled by Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez.Paraguay equalised six minutes later when Nunez connected with a cross from the left - albeit with a little help from Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who failed to catch an easy ball.The visitors restored their lead in the 31st minute through Manchester City forward Aguero, who produced a superb left-footed finish despite the close attention of two defenders.Real Madrid's Di Maria made it 3-1 four minutes after the interval following a fine pass from Fernando Gago, and Messi despatched another spot-kick three minutes later to further widen the gap.Santa Cruz reduced the deficit in the closing stages, but Maxi consolidated the win one minute from the end.The triumph moved Argentina onto 29 points in the Conmebol qualifying zone - three above Colombia, who lost 2-0 against Uruguay in Montevideo earlier on Tuesday.The United States and Costa Rica clinched their places at next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil on Tuesday - with two rounds of matches to spare in the CONCACAF qualifying zone.Jurgen Klinsmann's USA enjoyed a 2-0 win over arch rivals Mexico in Columbus, while the Ticos progressed despite being held to a 1-1 draw in Jamaica - courtesy of the fact there was not a winner in the Honduras-Panama encounter.Eddie Johnson capitalised on a mistake by Mexico goalkeeper Jesus Corona to put the Americans ahead against Mexico four minutes into the second half and, 11 minutes from time, Landon Donovan converted Mikkel Diskerud's cross to put the result beyond doubt.Klinsmann's side could have stretched their advantage even further but captain Clint Dempsey sent a penalty wide in stoppage time.In Kingston, Randall Brenes put Costa Rica ahead with a right-footed strike in the 73rd minute after a mix-up in the Jamaica defence.Jermain Anderson put a slight dampener on the visiting fans' celebrations with a stoppage-time equaliser for the bottom-placed Reggae Boyz, but the point proved enough for Costa Rica to ensure their fourth World Cup appearance - following adventures in 1990, 2002 and 2006.

Source: Newcastle United Mad


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