Uruguay pulled off an impressive 3-2 win over Argentina in the final round of the World Cup qualifiers in South America. However, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and co. will have to find a way to Brazil via the playoffs after Chile and Ecuador qualified for the 2014 World Cup at their expense.
Chile defeated Ecuador 2-1 in their final round on Tuesday, but both teams went through automatically after finishing third and fourth respectively. Argentina and Colombia had already booked their place before the start of the last round of matches.
Uruguay's 3-2 win over group winners Argentina turned out to be academic, as, despite equaling Ecuador on points, they finished one spot adrift of the automatic places in the nine-team group.
Cristian Rodriguez opened the scoring for Uruguay after a freekick from Suarez, which Argentina failed to clear, fell right into his path.
Maxi Rodriguez, deputising as captain for the injured Lionel Messi, equalised for Argentina soon after, before Suarez restored the lead from the penalty spot.
The referee awarded the Liverpool striker a questionable spotkick, which Suarez duly slammed home, making him the South American group's top scorer with 11 goals, surpassing Messi's mark of ten.
Maxi Rodriguez yet again equalised for Argentina late in the first half, before Cavani got in on the act for Uruguay, who also struck the woodwork twice in an enthralling game, finishing off a quick counterattack.
However, all that action and fun turned out to mean little as Chile and Ecuador made their way to Brazil, leaving Uruguay having to navigate past Jordan in a two-legged playoff next month.
This will be Uruguay's fourth consecutive playoff, having made it to the World Cup finals in 2002 and 2010 via this route, with Australia knocking them out in 2006.
Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez and Cardiff midfielder Gary Medel scored for Chile, with Felipe Calcedo making it 2-1. Ecuador finished with a +4 goal difference, while Uruguay were even-stevens having scored and conceded 25 goals each in their 16 total matches.
"This team deserve to be at the World Cup. We dedicate this to Chucho's memory," Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda said referring to Cristian Benitez, who died recently of heart failure in July.
"Only this family (the team) knows how much we miss him. We have to work hard so we arrive at the World Cup in high spirits."
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli could not quite believe his side had qualified for the World Cup. "This is a very strong team," he said. "Now we have to improve even more to play the World Cup with chances to go far. I never imagined this, I can't even measure it now."
Colombia ended their qualifying campaign on a winning note with a 2-1 result over already-eliminated Paraguay - Mario Yepes scoring both the goals for the winning side, who were without their talisman Radamel Falcao through suspension.
"Colombia showed they want to be a great team... Today (Tuesday) we had to make a big effort and that's a sign the team want to keep growing," coach Jose Pekerman said.