Argentina's Lionel Messi returned to international duty for the first time since the World Cup in a 3-1 loss to Venezuela in Madrid.
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Six teams remain as the South American U20 Championships resume with perennial powerhouses Brazil and Argentina in unusual positions.
South America's under-20 championships kick off this week. Success there can lead to Qatar 2022 for nations and to global stardom for their stars.
"For me, this is my Barcelona or my Real Madrid. It's not about me being a star," Josef Martinez said about committing his future to Atlanta.
Venezuela captain Tomas Rincon's penalty nine minutes from full-time earned a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Japan in Oita on Friday.
Venezuela has invested a lot into football in the past decade without much reward. Now, thanks to Deportivo Lara, things are starting to change.
Competitive national teams have a lot to do with the work done at youth level. Venezuela and Uruguay are shining examples, but Chile need to learn.
Venezuelan recruit Ronald Vargas will add attacking spark to help Newcastle Jets need to turn around their A-League fortunes says coach Ernie Merrick.
Argentina slipped up at home as they could only draw 1-1 with Venezuela in their South American qualifying group clash to remain fifth.
Venezuela's short recovery time for the U-20 final against England showed in their loss, but the South Americans' effort set the tone for the future.
In CONMEBOL friendly action on Thursday, Ecuador and Venezuela played to a 1-1 draw, while Peru beat 10-man Paraguay 1-0.
Venezuela's national team coach criticised President Nicolas Maduro's crackdown on protesters after reaching their first-ever World Cup final.
When Venezuela and Uruguay meet in the Under-20 World Cup semifinal on Thursday, it's a showcase of two national programs on the rise.
Christian Pulisic scored as the United States drew 1-1 with Venezuela in a friendly warmup ahead of a pair of crucial World Cup qualifiers.
The United States will play Venezuela in a friendly on June 3 at Sandy, Utah, as the Americans prepare for World Cup qualifiers.
The United States national team will play friendlies against Venezuela in early June and Ghana in July, multiple sources told ESPN FC.
Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez, who leads the MLS with five goals, will miss four to six weeks with a left quad injury.
A Paulinho hat trick helped Brazil to a 4-1 victory over Uruguay in a clash of the top two teams in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying on Thursday.
As ever, the level of competition in South America will ensure that the World Cup qualifying campaign will go all the way down to the wire.
Venezuela football has seen a steady upward curve in the last decade with local clubs doing well and the top stars ply their trade in Europe.
Venezuela and Uruguay have done their part to book a spot at the U-20 World Cup but only one of Brazil or Argentina can join them.
Atlanta United signed forward Josef Martinez on loan from Serie A side Torino on Thursday and made him the club's third designated player.