SAO PAULO (AP) – Brazil became the first South American team to qualify for the World Cup in just over a year on Thursday, thanks to a 1-0 victory over Colombia with a goal from Lucas Paquetá.
The Lyon midfielder broke the stiff resistance of the visitors in the 72nd minute, in a play in which Marquinhos intercepted a ball from William Tesillo at the exit of Colombia and served for Neymar.
The Paris Saint-Germain star initially leaked the ball towards Paquetá, who entered the area and shot from the right to beat goalkeeper David Ospina.
Apparently the Napoli goalkeeper could have done more to deflect the ball, which managed to brush his hands before going to the nets.
The defensive approach arranged by Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda was about to achieve his goal again. Colombia was the only team that had taken points from Brazil in this tie, with a 0-0 draw recorded on October 10 in Barranquilla.
Instead, Brazil made sure to remain the only team to have participated in every World Cup in history.
The Seleção, with 11 victories in 12 games, reached 34 points, 18 ahead of Chile, which occupies the fourth place, the last to grant a direct ticket to Qatar. La Roja can only score 15 points in the remaining five dates of the tie.
In addition, it remains to be seen if Brazil plays the game against Argentina that began in September but was interrupted after seven minutes. Brazilian authorities stated that Argentine players had breached the COVID-19 protocols.
FIFA has not yet decided whether the match will take place. For now, Brazil and Aliceleste will collide again on Tuesday, but in Argentina.
Uruguay ranks sixth and can still match Brazil’s 34 points. However, they will collide with Chile on the last date of the tie, which makes it mathematically impossible for the two teams to overtake the leader.
The fifth place in the tie must play an intercontinental playoff. Colombia fell to that position with the defeat, combined with a triumph for Chile, which displaced it from fourth place.
The visitors had just one approach on Alisson’s goal, a shot by Luis Díaz that was barely deflected in the 38th minute.
Colombia receives Paraguay on Tuesday. He will accuse in that match the absences of defender Johan Mojica, from Elche of Spain, and midfielder Wilmar Barrios, from Zenit of Russia, in both cases due to the accumulation of yellow cards.