A total of 10 CONMEBOL teams entered the competition. The South American zone was allocated 4 places (out of 24) in the final tournament. , the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 3 spots open for competition between 9 teams.
The 9 teams were divided into 3 groups of 3 teams each. The teams would play against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winners would qualify.