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A reported blog on happenings around Latin America.

The road to the World Cup

South American teams hit the field today to compete for a spot at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Soccer argentina lionel messi 2011 06 01Enlarge
Lionel Messi during a match between Barcelona and Chelsea on April 28, 2009. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The road to the World Cup begins today for South American soccer squads.

Argentina takes on Chile in one of the four matches on opening day of the South American group.

Nine countries play in the qualifying round, since the host Brazil is exempt. They are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

For Argentina, the pressure is on to break the recent string of disappointments, including a quarterfinal loss in this summer's Copa America.

"We have to break the cycle of failure," star player Lionel Messi said recently, reported Teammate Javier Pastore said, "The failures must be left behind … . "We've had failure after failure."

Follow Stephanie on Twitter: @stephaniegarlow