Brazil thump Paraguay in World Cup qualifier

Brazil thump Paraguay in World Cup qualifier

Brazil thump Paraguay in World Cup qualifier

With Brazil nearly sure to advance — and Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru struggling at the bottom — that leaves six teams fighting for the three remaining automatic spots for Russian Federation.

Coutinho scored from outside the box to give Brazil the lead in the 34th minute.

Can has been on worldwide duty with Germany, the 23-year-old did not start against England or Azerbaijan but he did make a second half performance in both game.

In the 53rd minute, Neymar was brought down in the penalty area by Rodrigo Rojas, but the Brazilian ended up missing from the spot as Paraguay goalkeeper Anthony Silva went the right way to pull off a great save. Neymar then nearly 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.

Paraguay impressed defensively and in attack, refusing to allow Brazil time on the ball and the visitors should have taken the lead seven minutes later when Gonzalez moved through on goal after some sloppy play from Miranda but the Dynamo Kiev forward scuffed his shot.

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Their defenders are solid at the back, and goal-machines like Neymar are finding the back of the net easily.

The former Santos man is now just three goals away from equalling Romario's record for Brazil in third of their all-time leading scorers. The goal was reminiscent of the "joga bonito" style of game that the Brazilians are famous for.

The five-time world champions are coasting through qualifying and now sit top of their group, nine points ahead of second place Colombia and 11 points ahead of 2014 finalists Argentina. The Brazilians secured a direct spot for Russian Federation 2018 after third-place Uruguay lost 2-1 to Peru in Lima.

The Argentina started losing condition at altitude and Bolivia capitalized via striker Marcelo Moreno, who fired home from close range after a cross from Flores to make it 2-0 in the 52nd.

With four rounds of fixtures remaining, Brazil have 33 points, followed by Colombia (24), Uruguay and Chile (23). The win takes Colombia to second and Chile to fourth position respectively. Argentina's Lucas Pratto sits on the pitch during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer soccer match against Bolivia in La Paz, Bolivia, on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

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