Also China was eliminated on the fifth tiebreaker despite a 7-0 victory over visiting Hong Kong.
Belgium and Turkey were upset in European games while the Netherlands and Greece had easy wins.
At Quito Edison Mendez beat goalkeeper Dida in the 77th minute to lead Ecuador (5-5-1) which is fourth in South American qualifying. Brazil (5-1-5) also lost 1-0 at Ecuador in qualifying for the 2002 tournament.
At Buenos Aires Argentina beat Venezuela 3-2 on goals by Juan Roman Riquelme and Javier Saviola to move ahead of Brazil 22 points to 20. Argentina (6-1-4) got an early break when defender Jose Rey of Venezuela (4-6-1) scored an own-goal heading in a free kick by Riquelme in the 25th minute.
Elsewhere in South America Uruguay (4-5-2) beat Paraguay (4-3-4) 1-0 at Montevideo Colombia (3-4-4) took Bolivia (3-7-1) 1-0 at Barranquilla and Peru (3-4-4) beat Chile (3-4-4) 2-1 at Lima.
In a game played simultaneously with China's victory at Guangzhou Kuwait won 6-1 at home against Malaysia. Kuwait and China both went 5-1 in the second round of Asian qualifying and Kuwait won Group Four because of total goals in the round advancing to the eight-nation finals.
China and Kuwait traded 1-0 home wins and the first tiebreaker is head-to-head record the second head-to-head goal difference and the third head-to-head goals scored. They also were even on the fourth tiebreaker goal difference in the group with Kuwait outscoring opponents 15-2 to China's 14-1.
China led by former U.S. coach Bora Milutinovic appeared in its first World Cup in 2002 losing all three of its games and getting outscored 9-0.
"I am empty inside current China coach Arie Haan said. "This is one of those moments in sport that are very difficult."
South Korea (4-0-2) a semifinalist in the 2002 World Cup it co-hosted with Japan beat the Maldives 2-0 at Seoul to win Group Seven and Iran (5-1) won Group One by defeating Laos 7-0 as Jordan (4-2) lost 2-0 at Qatar.
There were 40 qualifiers in all Wednesday.
In Columbus Ohio Jamaica failed to advance in World Cup qualifying tying the United States 1-1.
The United States (3-0-3) already are assured a berth in next year's North and Central American and Caribbean finals. The Americans who got a goal from Eddie Johnson won a spot in next year's six-team regional finals with a 6-0 win over Panama last month.
Panama (2-2-2) advanced to the regional finals with a 3-0 win over visiting El Salvador (1-4-1).
Johnson scored in the 15th minute for the Americans on a lofting pass from Pablo Mastroeni. Andy Williams tied the score in the 27th minute on a penalty kick. Jamaica fell to 1-4-4.
Mexico (6-0) got three goals Luis Ernesto Perez and defeated St. Kitts and Nevis (0-6) in Monterrey and visiting Canada (1-3-2) beat Guatemala (3-2-1) 1-0.
In the Caribbean Angus Eve scored a 90th-minute match-winner as Trinidad and Tobago (4-2) beat visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines (2-4) 2-1 and visiting Costa Rica (3-2-1) and Honduras (1-1-4) played to a scoreless tie that gave Costa Rica the second Group B berth behind Guatemala (3-1-1). Mexico (5-0) already had clinched Group C and Trinidad and Tobago was likely to finish second.
In Europe the Netherlands (3-0-1) won 3-0 against Andorra (1-3) on goals by Philip Cocu Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder; the Czech Republic (3-1) won 2-0 at Macedonia (1-3-1) on goals by Vratislav Lokvenc and Jan Koller in the final three minutes; European champion Greece (1-1-2) won 3-1 against visiting Kazakhstan (0-4); Turkey (1-1-3) was upset 3-0 by visiting Ukraine (3-0-2); Belgium (0-2-1) was upset 2-0 by visiting Serbia-Montenegro (3-0-1); Israel (2-0-2) won 2-1 at Cyprus (0-4-1); and Portugal (4-0-1) won 5-0 at Luxembourg (0-6).
In exhibition games it was Spain 1 England 0; Italy 1 Finland 0; Germany 3 Cameroon 0; France 0 Poland 0; and Sweden 4 Scotland 0.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)