Paraguay became the 11th nation to make it into the World Cup finals thanks to a convincing 1-0 win over Argentina, whose qualification hopes took a further blow.
A 28th-minute strike by Nelson Haedo Valdez after a Salvador Cabanas assist was enough for Gerardo Martino's Guaranies to advance to their fourth World Cup in a row.
Argentina, meanwhile, had Juan Sebastian Veron sent-off in the second period and went down to fifth in the standings on 22 points, the position for the play-off against a CONCACAF nation.
''We marked firmly and managed to hold the lead we took in the first half. In the second half, we tried to be more aggressive, but they controlled the ball,'' said Paraguay defender Julio Caceres.
In Salvador, a hat-trick by Nilmar gave already-qualified Brazil a 4-2 win over Chile, who need only one more point to progress to the finals.
Julio Baptista scored Brazil's other goal, while Humberto Suazo temporary equalised for the visitors. Felipe Melo and Alexis Sanchez were both sent off.
Ecuador climbed to fourth in the standings thanks to a 3-1 away win over Bolivia, despite high altitude. They are now one point above Argentina.
Edison Mendez, Manchester United midfielder Luis Valencia and Cristian Benitez gave Sixto Vizuete's side the win at 3,600metres above the sea level in La Paz, while Gerardo Yecerotte reduced the deficit with four minutes to go.
In Montevideo, Uruguay defeated Colombia 3-1 and still dream of a direct qualification as they lie one point below Argentina.
Ajax forward Luis Suarez put the Charruas ahead early in the sixth minute, but Jackson Martinez levelled the game at the 64th.
When the game was close to end in a draw, Andres Scotti gave Uruguay a new lead before Sebastian Eguren secured the win with three minutes remaining.
''We had a good start and a good end in the game. The game was very difficult even though Colombia did not build dangerous chances to score,'' Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez analysed.
Finally, Venezuela keep their hopes alive as a brace by Nicolas Fedor helped the Vinotinto beat already-eliminated Peru 3-1. Ronald Vargas also scored for Venezuela, while an own goal by Juan Fuenmayor recorded Peru's only goal.