Neymar on target as Brazil rout Paraguay 3-0

Their 10th win of the qualifying campaign, along with defeats for Argentina and Uruguay, means Brazil can not finish lower than fourth in South American qualifying.

Barcelona forward Neymar has said that the Selecao are back to playing "the Brazilian way", and credited coach Tite for turning the team around as they became the first nation to qualify for next year's World Cup, alongside host Russian Federation.

They won 4-1 against Uruguay in Montevideo last week, and they bested Paraguay 3-0 on Tuesday to seal their passage with four games still left to play in CONMEBOL qualifying.

Paris Saint-Germain's Cavani struck from the spot against Brazil to save his country's blushes, but the Ligue 1 top scorer (27 goals) failed to find the target as the Celeste fell in Lima.

Brazil could become tonight the first team, besides hosts Russian Federation, to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The top four sides automatically qualify for Russian Federation, and the fifth-place squad will enter a two-leg playoff against a team from the Oceania Football Confederation.

Uruguay and Argentina still have to face each other which means it is impossible for both to overtake Brazil.

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"Tite managed to mould us in the right way, the Brazilian way and we are playing football now", Neymar said.

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. "No matter when or where, Brazil will always be one of the favorites for titles".

"When I look at my family - the players - and when we talk to the fans and see how happy they are, that's when you think 'I'm part of something very special, '" said Brazil coach Tite, who replaced Dunga.

Argentina's best chance of qualifying for the next World Cup seemingly relies on winning an appeal to have Messi's suspension shortened.

In the 85th, Neymar and Coutinho exchanged passes, found Paulinho at the edge of the box and the midfielder used his heel to find Marcelo in front of the goalkeeper.

As a captain during the 2016 Copa America, Neymar proved to be immature and irascible.

While Brazil celebrated, Argentina slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Bolivia in La Paz.

Barcelona next play on Sunday at home to Granada before they head to Sevilla for a tough away match. In 13 matches "pentakampeony" scored nine wins, three games ended in a draw and only one lost. Second-placed Colombia have 24 points in total from 14 games.

  • Leroy Wright