Uruguay turned on the style, under new coach Marcelo Bielsa, as they beat Chile 3-1 in their opening South American World Cup qualifier on Friday.

Argentine Bielsa, who had previously coached Chile between 2007 and 2011, opted for a youthful line-up without veteran strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.

Bielsa was rewarded with an entertaining display from his new charges with River Plate attacking midfielder Nicolas de la Cruz scoring twice.

De la Cruz opened the scoring with a fine left-foot strike in the 38th minute before Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time.

De la Cruz broke down the left before switching to Valverde, who made space before burying a shot into the far bottom corner.

The third goal, in the 71st minute, came after a fast break down the left with Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez pulling the ball back into the path of De la Cruz who made no mistake from close range.

Chile pulled a goal back three minutes later with Arturo Vidal scrambling the ball home after a Diego Valdes header came out off the bar.

Five-times world champions Brazil were hosting Bolivia later on Friday.

The qualification process for the expanded 48-team World Cup, to be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026, offers two extra places for South America with six teams qualifying directly.

The seventh out of the 10 nations will head to an inter-continental play-off.

The opening games on Thursday saw Argentina beat Ecuador 1-0 with a goal from Lionel Messi while Peru drew 0-0 at Paraguay and Colombia beat Venezuela 1-0.