81 days to go to the AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019

Brazil become first nation to book place for Russia 2018

Neymar Brazil

March 29 – Brazil have become the first team to qualify for next year’s World Cup after the five-times champions beat Paraguay 3-0 for their eighth successive win in the South American qualifying competition.

That in itself was not enough to confirm their participation in Russia but Peru’s surprise 2-1 win over Uruguay in a later game guaranteed Brazil a top-four finish.

With four rounds of fixtures remaining, Brazil have 33 points, followed by Colombia (24), Uruguay and Chile (23). Argentina (22) are currently in fifth place, which earns a two-legged playoff against the top-ranked Oceania region side.

Argentina, missing the suspended Lionel Messi, lost 2-0 to Bolivia, coming unstuck in high altitude as so many teams do and slipping from third to fifth.

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