Friday, June 5, 2015

Olympic Games: South American Men's Qualifiers - Day One

The road to Rio de Janeiro 2016 involves seven South American countries fielding male teams at the currently qualifying competition in the Argentine city of Santa Fé. With only one automatic qualification spot on the line teams have everything to play for. Favorites Argentina performed strongly on day one while neighboring Uruguay also went through the day undefeated. Uruguay's opening match of day two against Chile will now go a long way to confirming the remainder of the competition. While only one team will earn a spot at the Olympic Games the runner-up and third placed finisher will both have a chance at qualifying via global repecharge. 

With a place in the Olympic Games on the line Argentina took nothing for granted. A strong team including players to have been regulars in the senior Pumas squad combined with Sevens Rugby specialists to give the men's team their strongest opportunity of playing in Rio de Janeiro 2016. 

Argentina's 57-0 and 64-0 victories over Paraguay and Venezuela underlined the country as the odds-on-favorites to win the qualifying tournament. The results means that neither Paraguay nor Venezuela can hold on to an Olympic dream for 2016 but for Chile and Uruguay the dream is very much alive. 

Chile started strongly by defeating Venezuela 27-0 and also performed impressively against Peru by winning 41-0 but was overpowered by the host nation, losing 17-0. The results make for an enticing day two which will see Chile facing Uruguay on Saturday morning. A win for Chile will be required to avoid elimination.

The region's most improved country in recent years, Colombia, also delivered noteworthy results. On day one Colombia was to strong for both Peru and Venezuela before losing 24-12 against Uruguay. Despite not knocking-over Uruguay the encouraging development of Uruguay stood out and the team is a strong possibility at finishing higher than it's CONSUR B categorization at the senior men's level.

Day One Results
Chile 27 - Venezuela 0
Colombia 35 - Peru 0
Argentina 57 - Paraguay 0
Paraguay 5 - Uruguay 40
Venezuela 12 - Colombia 24
Argentina 17 - Chile 0
Peru 0 - Chile 41
Colombia 12 - Uruguay 24
Argentina 64 - Venezuela 0

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