Brazil, first team to qualify for 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Thirty more teams will join Brazil, and hosts Russian Federation, at next summer's World Cup.

Brazil's excellent qualifying run continued on Tuesday as they beat Paraguay 3-0 at the Arena Corinthians to extend their lead at the top of the South American Zone to 11 points with a brilliant all-round performance.

On Tuesday in Sao Paulo, Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho curled in a low opener and Neymar capped an eventful evening with a goal in the second half before Marcelo added a late third.

Neymar also missed a penalty kick as his side moved nine points clear of second-placed Colombia.

That win marked a new record for Brazil in qualifiers, surpassing the six straight victories recorded by the fabled Pele-led team who went on to win the 1970 World Cup. Having played to date in the 13 rounds of the qualifying stage for the 2018 mundial, the Pentacampiones scored 30 points in these meetings with a total score of 32:10, which allows them to remain the leaders of the standings, where the gap between the nearest pursuer is 7 points.

Also two-time World Cup Champions Argentina face a battle to qualify for Russian Federation after they suffered 0-2 loss to Bolivia in La Paz, leaving them fifth, a point behind Chile.

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Argentina lost 2 - 0 to bolivia without their talisman which leave them with little chance of qualifying for the games. In the 4-1 thrashing of Uruguay last Thursday, he gave the world a moment of revelation. Russian Federation is automatically in as the host nation.

Brazil's Diego (left) and Neymar are all smiles at a training session before their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Paraguay. But that didn't stop the coach from giving the star the captaincy band for the game, a position Tite usually rotates. The top four sides automatically qualify for Russian Federation, and the fifth-place squad will enter a two-leg playoff against a team from the Oceania Football Confederation. Colombia, Uruguay and Chile occupy the places, after defeats for Argentina and Ecuador on matchday 14.

While Brazil have qualified with four games to spare, Argentina are in danger in missing out on automatic qualification.

Messi's suspension left Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza forced to make a hasty reshuffle to his starting line-up, bringing in Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa in attack while leaving Manchester City's Sergio Aguero on the bench. "No matter when or where, Brazil will always be one of the favorites for titles".

"The matches Messi is disqualified for are all FIFA World Cup qualifying matches", the organisers said. Dunga's surprising appointment as head coach after Brazil's home humiliation, alienated many fans.

Against Paraguay, Brazil was already in a party mode, with Coutinho opening the scoring on 34 minutes following a deft one-two with Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho.