Argentina feels World Cup pressure; Brazil set to party

Brazil has become the first side to seal their place at the World Cup finals in Russian Federation next year.

Brazil's clash against Paraguay in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers is going to be special for Barcelona forward Neymar, who will lead the team in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Casemiro all seem to be in top form at the moment, making Brazil a clear favorite against seventh-place Paraguay.

Brazil have won eight consecutive games since Tite replaced Dunga following last year's Copa America Centenario to sit atop the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying standings. Most recently Brazil defeated Uruguay 4-1 away from home with a goal by Neymar and a hat-trick by an unlikely hero, Paulinho.

Peru's win pulled them within four points of Argentina and kept alive their own faint hopes of qualifying for a first World Cup since 1982.

In other matches on Tuesday, Colombia and Chile boosted their chances of a direct qualifying berth by defeating Ecuador and Venezuela respectively. While Brazil pretty much has its place secure in Russia, Paraguay will desperately seek the favorable result from this match.

Argentina officials revealed that they would appeal the Messi ban, which has him suspended from official games until their final World Cup qualifier against Ecuador on October 10.

However, head coach Tite has revealed that Firmino will play in the game, which gets underway at 1.45am British time at Corinthians Arena. "Then the best in the world said 'Calm down, it will all fall into place, play your game.' It was great for me", Neymar said. "We are achieving our goals, which is to win and reach the World Cup as well". Having played 14 matches, each team now has four matches to play in qualifying round. Uruguay has 23 and Argentina 22.

Arguably, Tite's most significant achievement since taking charge is to make Brazil less reliant on Barcelona superstar Neymar.

  • Julie Sanders