Oceania Opponent No Clearer

Oceania’s opponent in the 2006 World Cup finals play-off looks no clearer to being determined following round 8 of the South American qualifiers over the weekend.

Oceania-s opponent in the 2006 World Cup finals play-off looks no clearer to being determined following round 8 of the South American qualifiers over the weekend.   Three teams are separated by goal difference in fifth spot, with the eventual team that fills that place due to play the winner of the Australia and Solomon Islands play-off that will held in September 2005.   The biggest winners of round 8 were Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, with all three frontrunners moving clear of the rest of the pack. Chile is fourth, two points behind Paraguay, but they missed a great opportunity to stay with the leaders after being held by lowly Colombia at home to a 0-0 draw.   However for the top three it gives them a clear break on the chasing pack, whom are all struggling to find any consistent results. The next round, the halfway stage of the qualifiers, will also give the top three a chance to break further away, as they play teams that are fifth or lower.   CONMEBOL-s big two Brazil and Argentina both recorded 3-1 victories, over Bolivia and Peru respectively, while Paraguay needed a lone goal to get past a determined Venezuela.   Eight players from the successful Argentinean team that won Olympic Gold backed up to play against Peru and it was a game they were always in control of, after Mauro Rosales opened the scoring after 13 minutes.   Both sides were reduced to 10 men right on half time, after Cristian Gonzalez (Argentina) and Flavio Maestri (Peru) had a push and shove.   Peru equalised in the 61st minute through Jorge Sato, but within four minutes Fabrizio Coloccini had Argentina back in front. An injury time goal to Juan Pablo Sorin to the result beyond Peru-s reach.   Brazil got off to a flyer against Bolivia, despite the absence of five regular starters, with Ronaldo (1st minute) and Ronaldinho (13th minute penalty) had them two up. Adriano made it three just before half time, to put the game out of Bolivia-s reach, although they did pull a goal back in the second half from an Edmilison own goal in the 48th minute.   Paraguay squeaked home against Venezuela thanks to a powerful headed goal from veteran Carlos Gamarra in the 58th minute.   2002 World Cup Finalists breathed life back into their 2006 campaign with a rather contentious 1-0 win over Ecuador that flattered them after another listless performance at home.   Carlos Bueno-s 58th minute strike was ruled to have bounced over the line despite strong protests from the Ecuadorians that it hadn-t crossed the line.   The final match saw Chile and Colombia fight out a tense 0-0 draw that saw two players from either side sent off, all for crude challenges.   Standings Brazil 16 Argentina 15 Paraguay 14 Chile 12 Ecuador 10 (0) Venezuela 10 (-2) Uruguay 10 (-6) Peru 9 Colombia 8 Bolivia 6   The next two round takes place on October 9/10 & 12/13/14 and will a key time in the qualifiers for many teams.   Round 9 pits Ecuador against Chile, Venezuela v Brazil, Colombia v Paraguay, Bolivia v Peru and Argentina v Uruguay,   Round 10 Bolivia plays Uruguay, Paraguay v Peru, Chile v Argentina, Brazil v Colombia and Venezuela v Ecuador.