Neymar keeps Brazil ticking towards World Cup

Philippe Coutinho
GETTYPhilippe Coutinho is not concerned with Everton's upturn in form

30 March, 2017

Neymar shrugged off some rough tackling and a missed penalty to score a brilliant solo goal as he led Brazil to a 3-0 win over Paraguay which booked their place at the 2018 World Cup finals today.

Neymar starred with his 52nd global goal as highflying Brazil beat Paraguay 3-0 on Tuesday but the CONMEBOL leaders still wanted a favourable result in Peru.

Barcelona forward Neymar has said that the Selecao are back to playing "the Brazilian way", and credited coach Tite for turning the team around as they became the first nation to qualify for next year's World Cup, alongside host Russian Federation.

Paris Saint-Germain's Cavani struck from the spot against Brazil to save his country's blushes, but the Ligue 1 top scorer (27 goals) failed to find the target as the Celeste fell in Lima. Brazil could become the first team, besides hosts Russian Federation, to qualify for the FIFA event next year if they beat Paraguay and other results work in their favour.

Once again, Neymar has scored for the Brazilian team. "It is regrettable that he could not play, but even more so that there was no time for me to work with someone else", Bauza said.

New Brazil captain Neymar says the team is full of high quality players, and not just himself.

Not bad for a group filled with players who endured the 7-1 trashing by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinal - a group many fans not long ago treated with disdain.

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Coming off a tremendous 4-1 away win against second place and historical foe Uruguay, Brazil seem to have recaptured some of their luster of old.

The city's Estadio Hernando Siles is situated some 3,600 metres (11,800 ft) above sea level, and was the scene of a famous 6-1 Argentinian defeat in qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.

It was Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho who opened the scoring, after exchanging passes with Paulinho 20 yards from goal before picking out the bottom right-hand corner in the 34th minute.

Chelsea's Willian has called on the Brazil squad staying humble after they secured qualification for the World Cup.

Paulinho then volleyed wide as the hosts took control in the second half before Neymar missed Coutinho's cross to waste a golden opportunity.

Neymar's goal, on the other hand, required a bit of luck.

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