Argentina made it to next year's World Cup. Barely.
Mario Bolatti scored amid a goalmouth scramble in the 84th minute, and coach Diego Maradona's Albiceleste beat Uruguay 1-0 Wednesday night in Montevideo to earn the fourth and final automatic berth from South America.
Maradona repeatedly used profane language to lash out at his critics at the post-match news conference and said Argentina media had treated him "like garbage." He credited the win to support he received from fans.
"Thanks to my players, today I was consecrated as a coach," he said defiantly. "We are in the World Cup with full honours."
Uruguay (6-6-6) finished fifth with 24 points and will meet Costa Rica, the No. 4 team from North and Central America and the Caribbean, in a playoff next month for another berth. The first leg is at Costa Rica on Nov. 14, and Uruguay hosts the second leg four days later.
Brazil (9-2-7) tied Venezuela 0-0 at home on Wednesday and finished first in South America with 34 points, one ahead of Chile and Paraguay (10-5-3), which had earlier clinched the first three berths from South America.
Chile beat Ecuador 1-0 at home, while Paraguay fell 2-0 at home to Colombia.
Peru topped Bolivia 1-0 at home in a matchup of the bottom two teams in the South American standings.
Argentina (8-6-4), which would have missed its first World Cup since 1970 if it had lost, wound up fourth with 28 points and will go to the tournament for the 10th straight time.
"There's nothing to celebrate. From Grondona on down, it's all bad," forward Juan Sebastian Veron said, a reference to Argentina Football Association president Julio Grondona. "There's no reason to sweep things under the carpet. We've got to huddle and do a lot of talking."
Argentina scored just after Uruguay defender Martin Caceres tripped Veron just outside the penalty area and was ejected for his second yellow card.
Caceres covered his head with his jersey as he was sent off. From the ensuing free kick, Lionel Messi and Veron smoothly set up Bolatti, who entered just four minutes earlier. Bolatti beat goalkeeper Fernando Muslera with a low shot.