Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates a goal during the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 Soccer World Cup match between Peru and Argentina, at the National Stadium in Lima, Peru, 17 October 2023. EFE-EPA/Paolo Aguilar

Sports Desk (EFE).-

Lionel Messi scored two goals as Argentina extended their perfect run in the qualifying campaign for the World Cup 2026 with a 2-0 win over Peru, while Brazil suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Uruguay on Tuesday.

Goals from Darwin Nunez and Nicholas de la Cruz ensured Uruguay overtook Brazil in the points table on goal difference despite both teams having equal seven points.

Venezuela also joined the mix with seven points after stunning Chile with a 3-0 win but languished in fourth place due to their inferior goal average.

Messi made it four wins out of four for Argentina to open a five-point gap with others with his double, which took his number of goals in the World Cup qualifiers to a record 31.

With these two goals, the Argentinian superstar broke the tie with his former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez, who shared the record earlier with him of 29 goals.

Messi opened the account for Argentina in Lima in the 32nd minute with a high shot from the center of the box after a cross by Nico González from the left.

Ten minutes later Julian Álvarez failed to connect a cross from Enzo Fernández, letting Messi go free in a scoring position.


Messi accomplished the task with a low shot from the edge of the box, raising the number of his international goals to 106.

Messi added a third in the 60th minute to appear to have grabbed a hat-trick, but the video assistant referee ruled out the goal due to offside, denying him the feat.

The result means Peru are still winless in the campaign and have only one point that separates them from the bottom side, Bolivia.

Nunez, the replacement for Suarez, capitalized on a defensive error to head home a cross from the left by Maxi Araujo in the 42nd minute to give Uruguay a lead over Brazil.

To make matters worse for Brazil, striker Neymar left the field on a stretcher in tears three minutes later after sustaining a knee injury.

The 50,000 fans at the Estadio Centenario, which hosted the first World Cup final and will host a game in 2030, were left in jubilation after Nicolás de la Cruz scored from a Nunez cross in the 76th minute to complete Uruguay’s first win over Brazil in 22 years.

Brazil’s defeat followed a 1-1 draw with Venezuela last week.

Winger Yeferson Soteldo scored the opening goal for Venezuela and set up the two other goals for veteran strikers Salomon Rondon and Darwin Machis in their win over Chile at the Estadio Monumental de Maturín.

Ecuador and Colombia settled for a 0-0 draw at Quito in an evenly contested game that saw Colombia’s Liverpool striker Luis Díaz waste a penalty.

The visitors also had a goal from defender Carlos Cuesta ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside.

Ecuador, who humiliated Colombia 6-1 at home in the qualifier for the previous World Cup, hit the woodwork twice in the first half but was unable to find the back of the net.

Colombia finished the day in fifth place with six points and Ecuador in sixth with four points.

Antonio Sanabria struck in the 69th minute to give Paraguay their first win in the campaign over Bolivia.

Mathías Olivera (L) of Uruguay disputes the ball with Neymar of Brazil during a FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifiers soccer match between Uruguay and Brazil at Centenario stadium in Montevideo, Uruguay, 17 October 2023. EFE-EPA/Raul Martinez

The top six teams from South America’s 10-team qualifying competition are guaranteed a place in the World Cup, which will be hosted jointly by the US, Canada, and Mexico. EFE



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