The first two rounds of the CONMEBOL qualifiers have come and gone with some major surprises.

From underdogs performing masterfully to dark horses making amends without top stars to heavyweights imploding, these first two rounds have been nothing short of riveting. Here are the biggest takeaways thus far.

Argentina in Trouble

Two games into the tournament and Gerardo Martino's crew has one point. Just one. It is the worst start the nation has ever had in a qualifying campaign and could be pretty damning considering the quality of competition.

The biggest reason for Argentina's two disappointing results - Lionel Messi. The superstar has often been criticized for his lack of scoring for Argentina, but those watching the two games now know that he offers a lot more than that. Simply put, Argentina has no creativity in the midfield without Messi.

It also hurts that the team did not have Sergio Aguero's services for most of the game, showing that this team is really not as talented as many hoped.

The problem? Messi will not be around when Argentina hosts Brazil in its next matchday or when it heads to hot Barranquilla to take on Colombia. Argentina needs a win or two badly from that matchup. Anything short of that would be downright disastrous.


Colombia Is No Longer the 2014 Version

The 2014 World Cup version of Colombia was a dominant force of nature for one major reason - speed. Colombia attacked with wild abandoned while defending rather aggressively. It cost the team in the match against Brazil, but few would question the exhilarating attacking verve the team showcased prior to that.

Another characteristic of that team? Losing the possession battle. Simply put, Colombia played on the counter. It did not win any possession battles in the 2014 tournament with one exception - the Brazil game, which the team lost.

Now Colombia plays wastefully with possession, unable to break down opposition and often reverting to long balls that never come to anything. That strategy kind of worked against Peru, but even then Colombia's goals came from a trademark counter and a corner. Against Uruguay the plan was a failure because Uruguay is simply better in the air.

Not having James Rodriguez was a major problem and he should help when he returns next month (assuming he is fully recovered). Losing Juan Cuadrado to a red card is costly because he is the best player on the currently configured roster.

One final point - Radamel Falcao was an embarrassment. The number of times he fell on the floor was higher than the number of touches he had. Think about that...

Ecuador in the Driver's Seat

Go to Buenos Aires and come away with three points? Check. Get three points at home from Bolivia, a must-win game for any team serious about qualifying? Check.

Ecuador gets Uruguay at home and then Venezuela on the road in its second set of games, both winnable contests. Ecuador looks disciplined in defense and intelligent in its pressing, particularly against Argentina where the squad shut down the passing lanes intelligently and consistently.

Chile is the best team in CONMEBOL

The defending Copa America champs thrashed Brazil in their opener and then proceeded to dispatch with Peru in equally simple fashion. Four goals in under an hour is no small feat and this team just looks unstoppable right now.

The high pressing is exciting to witness. The quick possession game is equally impressive and the big stars are showing up at the right time. To say Alexis Sanchez is playing like a top-five player in the world is a gross understatement.

If the team continues this level of play, there should be no reason to doubt Chile qualifies with flying colors