Brazil’s eight straight victory under coach Tite earns them their spot in the tournament
Brazil became the second team after host Russia to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2018 after defeating Paraguay 3-0 at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo. Goals from Coutinho, captain Neymar and Marcelo gave the host nation victory over a struggling Paraguay.
Coutinho scored from outside the box to give Brazil the lead in the 34th minute. Neymar was fouled inside the box unfairly at start of second half but failed to score from the resulting penalty. Neymar made amends for the missed penalty by scoring minutes later in the 64th minute. Winning the ball inside his own half, he carried the ball along the wing to score. His shot on target was deflected by a defender which saw the ball go one way while the goalkeeper went the other way. Neymar then almost scored again in the 72nd minute when a blocked shot from a fellow team mate incidentally fell to him and he managed to put the ball past the goalkeeper. The goal was later disallowed as offside after discussion among the referees.
Marcelo sealed victory for Brazil by scoring the third goal in the 85th minute. The goal was reminiscent of the “joga bonito” style of game that the Brazilians are famous for. Paulinho’s delicate touch set up Marcelo and he chipped the ball across the sliding goalkeeper into the net to make it 3-0.
Uruguay, Argentina slip down in the qualifying round standings
Uruguay slipped to third position in the South American qualifications for the World Cup (CONMEBOL) after losing to Peru 2-1. Argentina suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of an already eliminated Bolivia. The defeat leaves Argentina at fifth position with 22 points in 10 games, one point less than Uruguay and Chile. Meanwhile, Colombia and Chile won their matches 2-0 and 3-1 against Ecuador and Venezuela respectively. The win takes Colombia to second and Chile to fourth position respectively. Having played 14 matches, each team now has four matches to play in qualifying round. Among the ten teams in the fray, the top four teams at the end of the qualifying round automatically qualify for the World Cup while the fifth placed team proceeds to the inter-confederation playoffs.
The matchday 15-18 will be played from 31st August to 10th October later this year.