Women’s World Cup qualification: Copa América Femenina

After a whirlwind qualification tournament, Brazil and Chile booked their places at next year’s World Cup with Argentina set for a play-off with the fourth-ranked CONCACAF qualifier later this year.

Group A

The nation to run away in Group A was free-scoring Colombia, Las Chicas Superpoderosas undefeated through qualifying, their only dropped points to Chile though their 16 goals in four matches second only to Brazil’s 22 in Group B. Not quite as proficient in front of goal, hosts Chile outclassed their opposition, a score draw against Paraguay enough to see them drop four points but edge out the competition.

Unable to hold Colombia off, Paraguay’s draw against Chile was enough to see Las Guaraníes finish the group in third and book their spot at the 2019 Pan American Games though the World Cup remains out of reach. Four matches without a win saw Peru and Uruguay finish fifth and fourth respectively, Las Celestes avoiding a last-place finish after a draw over higher ranked La Blanquirroja, negative goal difference enough to separate them.

Group B

Bagging four wins from four matches and only conceding once in the process, Brazil made light work of their group stage. A team growing in confidence through qualifying, Argentina sealed their spot in the final stages with wins over Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, Las Albicelestes doing enough to keep Venezuela out of the latter stages.

Spurred on by the enigmatic teenager Deyna Castellanos, La Vinotinto could do little about A Seleção but would have been left bruised after a 2-0 loss to Argentina, Lisbeth Castro beaten from 12-yards on both sides of the break. Far from favourites at any time, 79th ranked Bolivia found a goal through Janeth Morón late in the game against Ecuador to avoid finishing bottom of Group B.

A team to make it to the World Cup in Canada three years ago, troubles behind the scenes have seen Ecuador fall out of the FIFA rankings, four losses on the spin only highlighting the mismanagement of La Tricolor.

Final stages

Consistent in the second half of the tournament, Brazil picked up three wins from three, finding the back of the net three times in each game as they outclassed the best of the rest in South America. Hosts

After a loss to A Seleção and a scoreless draw against Colombia, Chile scooped the second qualification spot with a handsome 4-0 win over [then] second-placed Argentina. Spurred on, not just by the home crowed but by fellow Chilean international, Arturo Vidal, Las Chicas de Rojo proved not just their mettle but how far they’ve come in a short space of time and will do working overtime to be prepared for their maiden World Cup next year.

A 3-1 win over Colombia set Argentina up well, a loss to Brazil saw a winner-takes-all final match against the hosts. Down two goals less than 25 minutes in, an own goal five minutes before the break left the mountain insurmountable for the Albicelestes. Though they’ve got a second-chance at reaching their third World Cup (having been absent at the last two editions) when they go into the play-off against the fourth placed team at the CONCACAF Women's Championship at the end of the year.

Having breezed through the group stage, Colombia fast came unravelled against a higher calibre of opposition, their one goal advantage over Argentina dissipating after the break as they ran out 3-1 winners. A draw against Chile gave Las Chicas Superpoderosas a narrow hope of finding a win against Brazil but were ultimately undone by their own lack of football nous.