12th November, 2021
The five-time world champions Brazil have joined the hosts Qatar, Germany and Denmark as early qualifiers for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals.
Brazil booked their ticket after Lucas Paqueta goal gave them a win over Colombia on Thursday.
They become the first South American country to qualify.
The Brazilians have produced a near perfect qualifying campaign, winning 11 of 12 matches to qualify with six games to spare.
Their only blemish a goalless draw in Colombia last month.
“This is the fruit of the work we’ve been building for some time,” said the match-winner Paqueta, who pays for Ligue 1 club Olympique Lyonnais in France.
“Now I have to keep working hard to find my space” in the World Cup squad, he added.
Brazil were made to graft as Colombia had the better of the first half, but an attacking tactical switch from coach Tite at half-time paid dividends as the Selecao dominated after the break.
Colombia’s defeat saw them drop out of the four automatic qualifying positions in the single South American group as Chile overtook them after a third successive win, 1-0 away to Paraguay.
A month ago, Chile’s hopes of reaching Qatar appeared in tatters after a 2-0 defeat to Peru, but three straight wins have resurrected their chances.
An own goal from goalkeeper Antony Silva on 56 minutes gave them a 1-0 victory away to Paraguay, who they also beat last month to start their fine run.
It was a third straight defeat and fourth match in a row without a goal for Paraguay, who last month replaced coach Eduardo Berizzo with Guillermo Schelotto, and whose hopes are rapidly fading.
Peru boosted their qualification chances as goals from Gianluca Lapadula, Christian Cueva and Sergio Pina gave them a 3-0 win over Bolivia to move two points behind Chile.
Defender Piero Hincapie scored the only goal of the game on 41 minutes to give Ecuador a 1-0 win over rock-bottom Venezuela and cement their grip on third place.