Argentina were crowned champions of the South A merican Under-17 Championship last weekend, despite slumping to a 4-1 defeat to Ecuador in their final game of the tournament.
The Albiceleste topped the league table of the six-team championship – which decides which four regional teams qualify for the U-17 World Cup later this year – after playing a round of five matches in Lima, securing
Chile, Paraguay and Ecuador secured the remaining three berths for the tournament, with Brazil automatically qualifying as hosts, despite their own surprise elimination at the group stage in Peru, the first time in their history they failed to grace the tournament’s second phase.
Meanwhile, Uruguay missed out on their third consecutive tough World Cup after an agonising stoppage-time defeat to Peru in their final matchday.
Hosts Peru looked to have secured their own qualification with that late winner only for Ecuador to deny them on goal difference with a dramatic 4-1 defeat of Argentina in the final game.
Pablo Aimar’s young side suffered a shaky start to the Championship, conceding twice to Uruguay in the first five minutes of their opening match. However, the Albiceleste gradually picked up form, eventually reaching the top of the table to win the tournament.
The shock loss to Ecuador, in the final round of matches, saw Argentina’s rivals leapfrog hosts Peru and Uruguay, securing their place in Brazil later this year.