Brazil beat Colombia to qualify for Qatar as Neymar squares up to REF

Brazil squeeze past Colombia to become the first South American team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar… but Neymar is lucky to escape a red card after appearing to square up to the REFEREE

  • Brazil have become the first South American team to qualify for the World Cup
  • They squeezed past Colombia in Sao Paulo, with Lucas Paqueta netting the goal
  • Neymar was lucky to stay on the pitch after appearing to square up to the ref 

Brazil beat Colombia 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo to become the first South American team to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Lucas Paqueta got the vital goal 72 minutes into the match with a shot that goalkeeper David Ospina got a hand to but could not stop.

Neymar, meanwhile, was lucky to end the match on the pitch after appearing to square up to the referee in bizarre scenes midway through the second half.

Neymar appeared to square up to the referee during Brazil’s win over Colombia on Thursday

Lucas Paqueta netted the only goal to send Brazil to the Qatar World Cup next winter 

Vinicius Jr, Paqueta and Neymar celebrate together in front of the adoring Sao Paulo crowd

The PSG star, seemingly unhappy with one of the referee’s decisions, ran up to the match official and screamed directly in his face, going on to receive a yellow card – but can count himself lucky he didn’t see red.

The result means Brazil top the 10-team South American group with 34 points from 12 games, nine clear of second-placed Argentina.

The top four teams qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff. 

‘Colombia sometimes play it very tight so we needed to use all the tools we had at our disposal,’ Brazilian defender Marquinhos said, highlighting their improvement in the second 45 minutes.

‘Our team was intelligent and we were able to take advantage of spaces when they opened up in the second half and so create more chances.’

The win extended Brazil’s home run in the qualifiers to 11 consecutive victories, a record in the South American region. The game also marked their 10th consecutive home qualifier without conceding a goal, another record.

Neymar had to fend off a pitch invader at full-time as security rushed over to drag the man off

The match in Sao Paulo was a feisty one with neither side imposing themselves in a physical game on a rainy surface that produced 44 fouls and seven yellow cards.

In the first half, Wilmar Barrios and Duvan Zapata both saw shots flash over the bar for Colombia while at the other end Danilo saw a deflected shot come off the side of the post and Marquinhos watched a header go inches wide.

Brazil made a series of attacking changes in the second half, introducing Matheus Cunha, Vinicus Jnr and Ajax winger Antony, but it took a moment of magic from Paqueta to decide the game, when he took a pass from Neymar and fired home from just inside the box.

The result puts Brazil, who have won 11 of their 12 matches so far, in an unassailable position. 

Who goes with them to Qatar is still an open question after a night of fascinating results that left almost all the other teams believing they could still secure one of the places alongside Brazil.

Neymar walks off the pitch in a cowboy hat after Brazil secured World Cup qualification

Earlier in the evening, an own goal by goalkeeper Antony Silva got new Paraguayan manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto off to a losing start at home to Chile. 

Ecuador remain in third place in the group thanks to a 1-0 home win over Venezuela.

Piero Hincapie scored the only goal of the game four minutes before half time to lift the home side on to 20 points, five behind Argentina.

Peru kept their qualification hopes alive with a 3-0 win over Bolivia in Lima.

Sergio Pena, Christian Cueva and Gianluca Lapadula scored in a crushing first-half performance to lift Peru on to 14 points.

Only two points now separate Peru and the three teams above them, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador.

Bolivia and Paraguay sit a further two points behind, with only Venezuela adrift at the bottom of the table with seven points. 

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