Published: Thu, March 30, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

Brazil qualify for FIFA World Cup 2018, Argentina take a tumble

Brazil qualify for FIFA World Cup 2018, Argentina take a tumble

Sao Paulo - Brazil became the first country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday after Uruguay crashed to an upset 2-1 defeat against Peru.

Real Madrid full-back Marcelo made it 3-0 via a fine chipped effort to seal an impressive win for Brazil which sees them qualify for Russian Federation after going nine points clear of second-placed Colombia.

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring on 35 minutes, before Neymar made up for missing a penalty by doubling their lead in the 64th minute.

It was Brazil's eighth consecutive win in qualifying and, combined with Peru's 2-1 win over Uruguay in a later game, ensured they would finish the 10-nation group in the top four, guaranteeing them a berth at the Russian Federation finals.

Brazil could become the first team, besides hosts Russian Federation, to qualify for the FIFA event next year if they beat Paraguay and other results work in their favour.

Brazil no longer depend exclusively on Neymar, and can play without teenage target man Gabriel Jesus and still score goals.

It is hard to imagine that, mere nine months ago, pundits were discussing the possibility of Brazil not qualifying for the World Cup. The Brazilians secured a direct spot for Russian Federation 2018 after third-place Uruguay lost 2-1 to Peru in Lima. Paraguay, however, are in seventh place and have some work to do if they wish to catch up to 5th placed Argentina, who are four points ahead of them with the same number of games played.

Colombia, Chile and Uruguay are all now with Brazil in the automatic qualifying positions.

Neymar found himself the target of the visitors' defence early, being fouled a number of times in the opening stages but got on with the job at hand and nearly set up the opening goal six minutes in. But the Brazilian missed his first clear opportunity to score. He will now be available only for the last of Argentina's games, a potentially key match in Ecuador.

"I feel no pressure, I want to enjoy every moment of this", Fagner told reporters.

Failure to beat Bolivia on Tuesday could see Argentina fall out of the automatic qualifying positions once more, if Colombia beat Ecuador in Quito and reigning South American champions Chile down bottom team Venezuela in Santiago.

Paraguay still have mathematical chances to reach World Cup, but their schedule are very tough.

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