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2002 World Cup - Ecuador 0 Argentina 2

Aug 15, 2001

Argentina confirmed their superiority in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying section by becoming the first South American team to reach the finals next summer in Korea and Japan.

The 2-0 win over ten man Ecuador means Argentina can finish no lower than fourth place and are thus certain of one of the automatic qualification places.

Ecuador are in contention for one of these places as well with the fifth place team from the secton going on to play-off against Australia in November.

Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa fielded a full strength team - barring Gabriel Batistuta - and captain Juan Sebastian Veron put his team into the lead on 19 minutes when he powered in a shot from twenty five metres that rose into the back of the net. Veron scored a similar effort for new club Manchester United on Sunday but he dug this latest booming shot out from under his feet.

Hernan Crespo sealed the win with a 34th minute placed shot from the penalty spot after Ecuador defender Clever Chala had handled a shot that was going into goal to conceded the penalty kick and get red carded. Only three minutes earlier Ecuador had raided up field to try and find an equaliser with Ivan Kaviedes taking the ball past two defenders before failing to connect propoerly in front of goal.

But reduced to ten men the home team did not get another chance to upset the powerful midfield and defence that then controled the game for Bielsa's side that means Argentina are arguably the first of the heavy favourites for the World Cup title next year to actually make their way safely - and impressively - through qualification.

Their win may also have a wider influence.

It keeps Ecuador from creating a big lead over Brazil and the Brazilians will face an Argentina team in Buenos Aires with nothing to play for except their bitter local rivalry.

Source:  WSN


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