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Brazil qualify for Qatar 2022 World Cup with Colombia win


Lucas Paqueta scored the only goal of the game against Colombia to send Brazil to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Lucas Paqueta’s instinctive strike gave Brazil a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Colombia on Thursday to book their place at Qatar 2022.

The five-time world champions join the hosts and Europeans Germany and Denmark as early qualifiers for next year’s finals.

“This is the fruit of the work we’ve been building for some time,” said the match-winner.

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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.

Wilmar Barrios had the first chance of the match, lashing a half volley narrowly over the bar as Colombia made a bright start.

Colombia were proving tough opponents and creating the clearer chances.

Brazil struggled to create any notable chances with Paqueta’s shot from outside the box easily gathered by David Ospina and Neymar’s free-kick blocked by the wall.

Brazil were unable to get behind Colombia’s organized defense and a deflected cross from full-back Danilo that hit the side-netting was as close as they came until Marquinhos headed inches off target from a corner in first half stoppage time.

Tite was unimpressed with what he saw in the first half and hooked much-maligned Manchester United midfielder Fred for Real Madrid’s exciting winger Vinicius Junior.

Brazil were turning the screw and substitute Matheus Cunha should have done better with a header from eight yards that he sent over.

Vinicius should have sealed the win two minutes from time but stumbled as he rounded Ospina, who also saved from Antony, another substitute, in injury time.

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.

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.

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