News Matches

Brazil v Paraguay Live Commentary, 29/03/2017

3 - 0
Philippe Coutinho (34)
Neymar (64)
Marcelo (86)
Neo Química Arena


That's all for our live coverage, thanks for following along. Goodbye!
The party is underway in Brazil as they are well on their way to Russia 2018 on the back of a dominating victory over Paraguay. Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring for the Samba Boys, before second-half goals from Neymar, who also missed a penalty, and Marcelo put the game to rest.
There will be two minutes added on at the end of this match.
STAT: Brazil have won all three of their qualifying matches home to Paraguay since the adoption of the new format in CONMEBOL, outscoring them 8-2 (before tonight).
Diego Souza
Roberto Firmino
Diego Souza enters the fray, with Firmino replaced.
Philippe Coutinho
Willian comes on for the final few minutes at the expense of Coutinho, who opened the scoring tonight.
PARTY TIME IN SAO PAULO! Pop the champagne, Brazil are on their way to Russia 2018! It's a stunning back-heel, no-look flick from Paulinho to play Marcelo through, and the left-back lifts a delicate finish over Silva and in for the third!
Assist José Paulo Bezzera Maciel Júnior
Paraguay can forget about any sort of comeback. At this point they need to get out of here without any further damage being inflicted. It's been a long night for them and they have battled admirably, but sometimes you just come up against a better side. There's no shame in that.
THIS CROWD NEARLY ERUPTS! Fagner gets onto the end of a great chance and has a clean look at goal, but he slips as he's shooting and his shot is parried behind by Silva! These fans would have shattered the sound barrier if their Corinthians right-back scored for Brazil in his club stadium.
R. Rojas
Yellow Card
Rojas goes into the book, and this has been something of a long-time coming. The referee has been fairly lenient with his cards tonight.
Paraguay can draw some hope from the fact that they were winning 2-0 at this stage in the reverse fixture, before two late goals from Brazil saw them salvage a 2-2 draw. So it's not beyond reason, but the gulf in class between the two teams cannot be denied.
Á. Romero
C. Domínguez
Paraguay make their final change of the night as Angel Romero replaces Dominguez.
C. Domínguez
Yellow Card
Yellow card Cecilio Andrés Domínguez Ruiz
STAT: Brazil are in the midst of their best ever run with seven successive victories in World Cup qualifying.
It's all boiling over! Tempers rising here as Neymar is confronted after going to the ground theatrically. Paraguay have finally had enough of his antics, and this was indeed a bad one from the Brazilian, who goes down embarrassingly and then, as he's confronted, acts as though he's been given a cheap shot while on the ground, when that was hardly the case.
GOAL NOT GIVEN! Neymar can't believe his luck as an attempted clearance bounces back to him off a team-mate, and he calmly finishes at the far post. He runs off in celebration, and it takes an awfully long time for the referee and linesman to decide to call the goal back, even though he was clearly yards offside.
Brazil are in complete control here, refusing to relinquish possession as they play keep-away from Paraguay. This has been a wonderfully professional display from them in the second half, as they are just 20 minutes away from booking their place in Russia 2018.
Dangerous times for Paraguay as Brazil buzz about in attack looking for more. Brazil seem to be at their most dangerous after scoring, for whatever reason. The taste for goals makes them want to score more.
STAT: No CONMEBOL team has ever failed to qualify for the World Cup with 30 points, the number Brazil currently reside at.
BRAZIL HAVE THEIR SECOND! It's a great piece of determined running from Neymar to get into the area, gliding beyond a few defenders, but it takes a big hint of fortune for him to beat Silva, as a generous deflection catches the keeper going the wrong way and finds its way into the back of the net.
Marcelo is credited with the assist.
Santander pleads his case, along with the bulk of the Paraguay team, but there's no changing the referee's mind. Anticipation builds as Neymar lines up the free-kick, but after plenty of delay and anticipation, he smacks it into the wall in the end.
THAT'S A BAD ONE! Santander hasn't been on all that long, but he's already grabbing attention - only for the wrong reasons. He slides into the back of Casemiro, and while he does get some of the ball, it was a bit of a rash challenge as he concedes a free-kick in a dangerous area.
Paraguay's attacking impotence is proving their downfall in defence as well. Fatigue is setting in and they are struggling to keep the pressure off now. There's been little respite for them as Brazil keep coming back at them just when they think the danger is cleared.
F. Santander
D. González
Paraguay's second change sees the imposing Federico Santander replace Gonzalez. Perhaps the physical nature of this match will suit the big, burly striker.
STAT: Since CONMEBOL adopted the current qualifying format in the build-up to the 1998 World Cup, Brazil have never lost a qualifier on home soil (W24, D9).
Penalty Miss
With that miss, Neymar is still looking for his first ever goal against Paraguay.
A. Silva
Penalty Save
SILVA SAVES! Justice for Paraguay! The penalty shouldn't have been given in the first place, and karma rears its ugly head at Neymar in the end, who is thwarted by a wonderfully smart save from Silva!
PENALTY TO BRAZIL! Neymar goes down way too easily in the area following a challenge from Rojas, but it was an excellently timed tackle from the midfielder, who clearly got the ball! Bad decision here from the referee, but Brazil can put this game to bed.
SCARY SIGHT! Neymar misses a sitter at the far post, sliding in to get on the end of Coutinho's low cross, but he almost tries to hold himself up out of fear of running into the post. The hesitation causes him to miss the chance, and he runs into the woodwork still! He shouts in pain, but after 30 seconds he gets back to his feet.
Lethargic start to this second half as neither side comes out of the break with much urgency. The ball is being contained largely in midfield, and even the crowd noise has settled a bit as these fans look to get back into a rhythm as well.
Back underway in Sao Paulo!
Ó. Romero
C. Domínguez
Paraguay make a switch as well, with Oscar Romero coming on for Almiron, who was a peripheral figure in that first half.
Thiago Silva
One change for Brazil at the break as Thiago Silva comes on for Marquinhos.
Brazil have not been at their best through 45 minutes, but a determined showing sees them head into the break with the lead thanks to Philippe Coutinho's composed strike. Still work to be done, and Paraguay are not out of it yet, but they need to start taking chances.
Paraguay are enjoying a decent spell here as we approach the interval, managing some tidy possession in the attacking half. The tempo continues to be plagued by a litter of fouls, as the match hardly goes a couple of minutes at a time without sounding.
Perez is walking a fine line. He's been the culprit time and time again in this first half, and is at the centre of attention again as he clips the knee of Coutinho here, but somehow escapes again without a booking!
Dominguez puts in some nice running, winning a free-kick right near the corner flag as he shielded the ball well from Fagner. Red shirts crowd the penalty area in anticipation of a delivery. It comes, but it's touched on at the near post by a Brazilian head and drifts away from the danger area.
STAT: Paraguay have kept just two clean sheets in their last 19 qualifying matches away from home (including tonight).
You would have to expect something of a Brazil onslaught to be coming towards the last 10 minutes of this first half, urged on and inspired by their opening goal. The noise level inside this stadium is absolutely terrific, and they're hungry for more goals.
The in-form Paulinho picks up an assist to go with his hat-trick on Thursday.
Philippe Coutinho
PARAGUAY RESISTANCE IS BROKEN! That's a sensational finish from Coutinho, passing the ball with pace into the far corner from the edge of the area after a nifty one-two with Paulinho, who turns from scorer to provider!
OFFSIDE! The linesman gets it right here as Neymar started his run just half a second too early, but what an incredible take and finish that was! He delicately chipped the keeper under pressure, latching onto the end of his own clever dink, before rolling in a finish. Too bad it doesn't count.
Paraguay break encouragingly, but nothing comes of it as they get their passing wrong in the final third. That leaves them at their most vulnerable, however, as Brazil are quick to get back the other way and exploit the available space, but Neymar can't find Firmino in the area as support was otherwise lacking.
STAT: Brazil have drawn each of their last four matches against Paraguay across all competitions, twice losing on penalties in the Copa America.
Pressure is really building on this Paraguay goal, as the visitors drop deeper and deeper as a result of these set pieces. The visitors need someone to step up and be the link between defence and attack, to provide some respite for the backline.
EXCELLENT SAVE! This time it's Perez who bowls Neymar over and concedes a free-kick. Neymar's cross from the set piece is parried, rather unnecessarily, by Silva, as it was heading well wide, but the keeper atones for his error with an smart save moments later.
Neymar is all over the place right now. He's running free in the attacking half and commanding a lot of the ball, and so far Paraguay are struggling to contain him without fouling. This time it's obstruction on Gonzalez that concedes a free-kick, but Neymar's subsequent effort is into the wall.
Brazil dominating possession still, but Paraguay are working really hard off the ball. Their pressing has been excellent and it's helped to deny Brazil and real good opportunities. It's the right approach, but can they sustain this work rate for 90 minutes?
STAT: Brazil have scored 18 goals in their last six qualifying matches on home soil, averaging exactly three per match.
PENALTY APPEALS DENIED! Valdez makes a great challenge to break up a threatening Brazil attack, but then seconds later, in an attempt to win the ball, blows through Paulinho in the area! The whole stadium shouts for a penalty, but it's not given. Replays indicate it was a hard challenge, but reasonable, so perhaps the right decision in the end.
The visitors are starting to settle in defensively, but haven't got into enough of a rhythm on the ball. The Gonzalez chance was a real good one for them, but some carelessness from Brazil proved to be the architect.
Dreadful miss! Paraguay cannot afford to be missing their opportunities tonight! Gonzalez finds himself in on goal after a giveaway and a friendly ricochet in midfield, but he snatches at the chance and scuffs a shot harmlessly wide of the far post!
Brazil are being urged forward by this passionate crowd at every opportunity, and they are obliging. The hosts have absolutely dominated possession thus far and are having their way with Paraguay in midfield.
Another free-kick now for Brazil, as Paraguay set a physical tone in the early stages of this match. Neymar takes again, unleashing an effort at goal from close to 35 yards, but Silva sees it the whole way and makes the save.
STAT: Paraguay are one of just two South American nations Neymar has failed to score against, along with Venezuela.
BARELY OVER! Neymar takes the resulting free-kick and picks out Paulinho with a terrific cross, but the midfielder heads agonisingly over the bar! Paulinho close to getting into the act again after scoring a hat-trick against Uruguay on Thursday.
B. Valdez
Yellow Card
Feisty opening! Neymar pulls a cheeky bit of skill on the ball and Rojas takes exception, sliding into the back of the winger rather aggressively, inside the Brazil half. The hosts get forward soon after and Neymar is fouled hard again, this time by Valdez, who can't escape a booking like Rojas did.
A stunning atmosphere here in Sao Paulo as these fans salute their national side, as well as many of their former club heroes. This match is a homecoming for Brazil coach Tite, who won two league titles, a Copa Libertadores and a Club World Cup with Corinthians. Renato, Paulinho and Marquinhos were all Corinthians players as well, while Fagner is a current member of the squad.
AND THEY'RE OFF! Paraguay in red and white stripes as they get the match underway, attacking left to right, with Brazil in yellow.
Francisco Arce makes three changes from the win over Ecuador. Derlis Gonzalez comes into attack to replace Dario Lezcano, with Hernan Perez brought in to provide support, as Juan Iturbe is dropped to the bench. Juan Rodrigo Rojas is also brought into the side in midfield, at the expense of Victor Caceres.
Tite makes just one change from the win in Uruguay as Fagner replaces the suspended Dani Alves. It's a home match for Fagner, essentially, who plays here with Corinthians, while it will be a homecoming for sorts for many other players in the XI tonight, as well as coach Tite - but more on that later.
SUBS: A. Romero, Patino, Iturbe, O. Romero, Ortiz, Salcedo, Barreto, Benitez, Ortigoza, Santander, Fernandez, Riveros.
PARARUAY (4-4-2): Silva; Valdez, Da Silva, Veron, Alonso; Perez, Riveros, Rojas, Almiron; Dominguez, Gonzalez.
SUBS: Diego, Willian, Gil, Ederson, Weverton, Giuliano, Fernandinho, Thiago Silva, Diego Souza, Filipe Luis, Dudu, Mariano.
BRAZIL (4-3-3): Alisson; Fagner, Marquinhos, Miranda, Marcelo; Renato, Casemiro, Paulinho; Coutinho, Neymar, Firmino.
They face arguably their toughest test of qualifying tonight, which should go a long way in determining their fate. Victory would vault them right back into the race and provide them with an abundance of confidence down the stretch, while defeat could very well leave them high and dry.
In seventh place, Paraguay find themselves on the outside looking in, two points back of the play-off and three back of the final automatic qualifying spot, so they will have to be near-perfect over their final five games to keep their hopes alive.
Brazil’s 30 points in qualifying are far and ahead the best in the continent, seven up on second-place Uruguay, whom they breezed past 4-1 in Montevideo on Thursday night – the Albiceleste’s first defeat on home soil in seven years.
Mathematically, Brazil have yet to officially qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but it’s only a matter of time. Tite’s men are in pole position atop the CONMEBOL standings, and could become the first team, aside from the hosts, to secure their spot in Russia 2018 tonight.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of this South American World Cup qualifying match from the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, as Brazil aim to book their place in Russia 2018 when they host a Paraguay side aiming to keep themselves in the hunt.