Brazil leave Argentina struggling for 2018 place

Montevideo—Neymar scored his 50th international goal as Brazil thrashed Argentina 3-0 to tighten their grip on South America’s 2018 World Cup qualification campaign and leave their arch-rivals struggling to reach the finals. Barcelona superstar Neymar outshone club-mate Lionel Messi in Belo Horizonte—the venue where Brazil were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals.
Argentina are outside of the qualifying places. But Messi insisted that the two time World Cup winners could still get through to the Russia finals.
Neymar’s landmark strike was sandwiched by a spectacular effort from Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and a second-half finish from China-based midfielder Paulinho.
Brazil have now won five straight qualifying games under new coach Tite, who took over after Dunga was sacked in June because of Brazil’s failure to get out of the Copa America Centenario group stage.
Brazil now have 24 points from 11 games, one clear of second-placed Uruguay who have 23 points. The Brazilians are six points clear of third-placed Colombia and seven points clear of Ecuador and Chile, who are level on 17 points after 11 games.
Argentina languishing outside the qualifying places in sixth with 16 points.
The two-time world champions—who have taken just two points from their past four qualifiers—now face a crucial game at home to Colombia next Tuesday which they must win to avoid falling further off the pace.
“We’re down but we’re still alive,” Argentina captain Messi said. “We have to forget the situation we’re in and start thinking about Colombia. If we get a result against Colombia it will make things look a lot different.”—AFP

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