Brazil Is First To Qualify On 2018 World Cup Finals in Russian Federation

Neymar said Tite has been instrumental in the team's turnaround less than three years after the most humiliating loss in its proud football history, the 7-1 trashing by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinal.

Brazil's excellent qualifying run continued on Tuesday as they beat Paraguay 3-0 at the Arena Corinthians to extend their lead at the top of the South American Zone to 11 points with a brilliant all-round performance.

Neymar also missed a penalty as his side moved nine points clear of second-placed Colombia.

But on Tuesday, if Brazil beat Paraguay in Sao Paulo, and Chile and both Ecuador and Chile lose their games, the five-time World Cup-winners will have secured their berth in Russian Federation.

While Brazil celebrated, Argentina and Messi were left digesting another stumble in their progress towards Russian Federation as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat in La Paz.

Argentina had been rocked just hours before kick-off after confirmation that Barcelona superstar Messi had been hit with a four-match ban for swearing at an official in last week's 1-0 win over Chile.

The 25-year-old star also admitted he had to mature after a series of controversies on and off the pitch and promised Brazil would be one of the favorites in the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation. While Neymar has flourished under Tite - scoring five times in qualifying - the "Selecao" are now a more rounded attacking force.

"We will be more aggressive at home, for sure", Bravo said.

Brazil were forced into one change for the visit of Paraguay, with full-back Dani Alves suspended following last week's 4-1 win in Uruguay.

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. "We are achieving our goals, which is to win and reach the World Cup as well".

Neymar will wear the armband for the fixture and head coach Tite heaped praise on the Brazilian star, who stepped down as skipper after leading the country to a gold medal at the Rio Olympics previous year.

Phillipe Coutinho and Marcelo scored Brazil's other goals.

"In the last three games he was fouled more than 50 times and still remained focused on his game".

Under the new management, Brazil won eight straight matches and secured 24 of its 33 points.

  • Leroy Wright