Brazil becomes first team to qualify, Argentina struggles

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La Paz's Estadio Hernando Siles is situated 3,600m above sea level, and was the scene of an infamous 1-6 Argentina loss in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, while during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, they were held to a 1-1 draw.

Wearing the captain's armband for the first time since March previous year, Neymar dazzled after scoring his 52nd global goal in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

Brazil will qualify for the World Cup with four games in hand at the Arena Corinthians if it beats Paraguay and if Chile and Ecuador fail to win home matches.

Brazil became the first country to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation thanks to some help from fellow South Americans Peru.

But Uruguay's upset 2-1 defeat to Peru in the day's final South American qualifier combined with other results meant Brazil are mathematically guaranteed a place at next year's finals in Russian Federation.

"The matches Messi is disqualified for are all FIFA World Cup qualifying matches", the organisers said. And the road to qualification was rocky in the beginning.

While Brazilian coach Tite won't bring any surprises regarding its starting lineup, there will be one novelty: Neymar as captain of the squad.

Canarinho remain undefeated since Tite replaced Dunga after last year's Copa America Centenario with Brazil maintaining a watertight defence, managing to keep seven clean sheets during the run. "It is a shame - Brazil does not need it". Under manager Tite, Brazil have won eight straight games and nine straight overall.

Coutinho also praised his teammate Neymar: "He is the guy that decides a lot of games, a guy that is fundamental on our national team". That title gave Brazil some confidence back, players say.

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Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez put on a classy showing as two-time reigning South American champions Chile eased past rock-bottom Venezuela 3-1 in their CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying clash at the Estadio Monumental.

The top four teams in the South America region qualify automatically for Russian Federation 2018 and the fifth-placed side go into a playoff against a side from Oceania. It has become a team to fear again, as adversaries such as Uruguay's coach Oscar Tabarez acknowledged. Now, the coach, who has made the contemporary Brazil team more like the Brazil of old is in celebration mode.

"Thank you, my good God".

Real Madrid fullback Marcelo sealed the win for Brazil in the 86th minute when he finished off a wonderful move, with the final pass coming from former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho. But the momentum is clearly with the Selecao.

"Everything changed", winger Marcelo said. As you saw in the stadium, there was a lot of positive energy. "Everyone is working hard in each training, giving our lives".

Colombia now has 24 points and could end the round in second or third, depending on Uruguay's result in Peru.

Neymar is also different, more mature.

All three of the goals Brazil scored against Paraguay on Tuesday were world-class.

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