by Melissa Mahfouz
Special to iVoryTowerz
What happened Brazil? Did you come to play? Where were those killer shots, rhythmic finesse, and unprecedented passing combinations that distinguish your country above all others in the world of fútbol? The game against Ecuador (played Sunday, March 29) was certainly a run for your money.
These are the qualifying matches among ten nations in South America for next year's World Cup to be played in South Africa. Four teams from South America are guaranteed a shot at the Cup and qualifying play continues through October. But Brazil (the only country to win five World Cups, with the last championship coming in 2002) slipped to fourth place in the qualifying standings with its play against Ecuador.
Qualifying matches are chaotic, and the 1-1 tie between underdog Ecuador and dominant powerhouse Brazil proved to be quite a contest. Brazil clearly was the expected winner, but the team lacked cohesion and its normally fluid passing was nonexistent.
Both teams came away from the tie with something however. Ecuador needed the points in the standings to give it a chance to qualify for a playoff to get to 2010's Cup. Ecuador squares off next against Paraguay which currently leads the South American group in the standings. And although Brazil only managed a tie, the team reclaimed its pride a bit; before this game it had never scored on Ecuadorian turf in a qualifying match.
Ecuador also deserves accolades for its much-improved World Cup bid. Having begun the qualifying round with a three-game losing streak, the team has pulled itself up by its bootstraps in efforts to have a seed in South Africa. Now the team has Paraguay to face, which will surely be a hard-fought game with precision being vital. As for Brazil, despite its current place in the standings, it’s expected that the team should advance to the tournament and entertain spectators with samba-esque field techniques. 2010, here we come!
World Cup Qualifying Round
World Cup Qualifier
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by Melissa Mahfouz