BUENOS AIRES: Argentina vs. Brazil is always a showdown worth waiting for, and wait is exactly what fans will have to do.
Torrential rain in the Argentine capital on Thursday forced the World Cup qualifying game to be pushed back a day.
Officials declined to start the match at Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires, ruling the saturated field was unplayable.
Ernesto Cherquis Bialo, the spokesman for the Argentine Football Association, said the same venue would stage the game Friday.
“I wanted to play,” said Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain. “It’s a shame.”
Both South American powers are struggling and, with more balance in South America, there is even talk of one of the countries not making it to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Brazil has never missed a World Cup, and Argentina last missed out in 1970.
Brazil, the 2014 World Cup host, has only taken three points from its first two qualifiers, while Argentina, the losing finalist last year, has only managed one point and has yet to score a goal.
Brazil will have Barcelona star Neymar back following suspension, while Argentina will be without three injured stars: Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez.
In other qualifiers:
Ecuador won its third straight World Cup qualifier, defeating Uruguay 2-1 in Quito. It was Uruguay’s first loss after opening South American qualifying with two victories.
Quito’s elevation of 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) always makes it difficult for visitors. Fidel Martinez scored the winner in the 59th minute.
Felipe Caideco opened scoring for Ecuador, and Edinson Cavani equalized for Uruguay early in the second half.
Uruguay played without Barcelona star Luis Suarez, who is banned following his penalty for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in last year’s World Cup. He must sit out one more international match.
While, James Rodriguez scored in the 67th minute to lift Colombia to a 1-1 draw in the Chilean capital Santiago. Arturo Vidal scored for Chile with a header in the last minute of the first half.
It was the first blemish in World Cup qualifying for Copa America champion Chile, which won its first two qualifiers last month and now has seven points in three matches. Colombia has four in three matches.
Bolivia defeated Venezuela 4-2, taking advantage of playing in La Paz where the altitude is about 3,650 meters (11,975 feet).
Rodrigo Ramallo scored twice, Rudy Cardozo added another and Juan Carlos Arce converted a penalty.
Mario Rondon and Richard Blanco scored for Venezuela, which has lost its first three qualifying matches. Bolivia has three points from three matches.
Peru and Paraguay were to play Friday.