Football: Australians wind down

Terry Venables' Australia side made few new friends yesterday when they laboured to a 2-0 win over Tahiti in a World Cup qualifier in Sydney.

The former Queen's Park Rangers midfielder Ned Zelic scored Australia's opener with a fine volley in the 17th minute before Paul Trimboli sealed the victory with four minutes remaining. The former England coach's team lacked invention in a disappointing display, but they have already won Group One of the Oceania qualifying tournament, and now face a play- off against New Zealand. The winners will play an Asian side for a place in next year's World Cup finals in France.

In the Copa America, the hosts Bolivia averted a possible walk- out by Argentina when they beat Uruguay 1-0 in La Paz on Wednesday to win Group B.

Argentina's coach, Daniel Passarella, had threatened to take his team home because of an alteration in the rules that would have changed the venue of their quarter-final to high altitude La Paz if Bolivia had finished second in their group.

The Argentinian threat dominated the day in the trouble-hit competition, overshadowing the action on the field where Bolivia and Peru joined Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Ecuador in the quarter-finals.

Argentina had drawn 1-1 with Paraguay on Tuesday to finish second in Group A, earning a quarter-final tie against the second-placed team in Group B. Earlier on Tuesday, the Copa America organisers had announced that if Bolivia finished second in Group B, their quarter-final would be switched from Sucre, its original venue, to La Paz.

Sucre is 2,700 metres above sea level, only slightly higher than Argentina's first-round venue of Cochabamba, but La Paz lies at 3,600 metres and is a dreaded venue for visiting teams.