Paulinho hat-trick keeps Brazil on road to Russian Federation

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Hat-trick hero Paulinho said he never dreamed of scoring three goals for Brazil after the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying leaders took another step toward Russian Federation 2018.

Brazil's impressive away win did not begin promisingly, a blunder by defender Marcelo leading goalkeeper Alisson to foul Cavani only seven minutes after kick-off.

Paulinho was the unlikely inspiration behind Brazil's 4-1 victory over Uruguay after netting three times in Montevideo on Thursday.

Brazil prevailed in style in the top-of-the-table encounter in Montevideo thanks to a treble from ex-Spurs midfielder Paulinho and a delightful lob from Neymar.

Coutinho has been substituted off in the last three games and will be hoping he can return stronger after the global break.

Despite their dominance, it took until just after halftime for Brazil to take the lead.

Brazil sealed the victory in stoppage time when Paulinho completed his hat-trick, to secure an eighth consecutive win under head coach Tite.

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Never before has Brazil won so many competitive matches in succession.

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Following a controversial penalty call and subsequent Lionel Messi spot kick goal, the Albiceleste hung on against heated neighbors/rivals Chile, who probably felt like they should have left the capital with a point. The Chileans complained about the penalty decision, but failed to take advantage of an unimaginative Argentine team that managed to get few opportunities to score at the Monumental de Nunez in Buenos Aires.

Uruguay are back in action on Tuesday, travelling to Peru.

The result takes the pressure off Argentina, whose players have refused to speak to the media because of criticism they have endured over recent games.

His Chilean counterpart Juan Antonio Pizzi disagreed. "We deserved to get one goal". The last time the Argentines won in La Paz was in 2005. Chile will take on Venezuela at home, while Colombia travel to Ecuador for a crucial qualifier.

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