OFC champions New Zealand are confirmed to play Peru in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Intercontinental Play-off after a thrilling final round of the CONMEBOL Qualifiers today.
Three years of qualifiers came down to the final minutes of five simultaneous South American clashes, with the possibility of Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile or Colombia finishing fifth to play New Zealand.
A 74th minute goal from Paolo Guerrero secured Peru a 1-1 draw with fourth-placed Colombia and placed them on equal points with Chile, who lost 3-0 to front-runners Brazil and fell short of contention for the World Cup by two goals.
Argentina’s World Cup dreams were nearly obliterated after conceding in the first minute of their clash with Ecuador – who were no longer in contention for qualification – but a hat-trick from Lionel Messi saved the day for La Albiceleste and secured them a third-place finish.
Paraguay’s meeting with bottom-of-the-table Venezuela ended in heart-break after an 84th minute goal from Yangel Herrera earned Venezuela their first win since November last year and placed Paraguay in seventh position.
Argentina and Colombia claimed the last two direct qualification spots for South America, joining Brazil and Uruguay who both added another three points to their tallies and held their positions at first and second, respectively.
New Zealand will play Peru in the two-legged home-and-away Intercontinental Play-off for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ between 6 and 14 November 2017.