The cosmic balance is reasserting itself: Brazil look a team again, and solidify their position at the top of Conmebol qualifying. Paraguay stay 7th, and will not make it to Russia, it now seems fair to say.
- 2nd Half
- DomínguezRomero Villamayor77'
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
Brazil - Paraguay
World Cup Qualification CONMEBOL - 29 March 2017
World Cup Qualification CONMEBOL – Follow the Football match between Brazil and Paraguay live with Eurosport. The match starts at 02:45 on 29 March 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Full-time: Brasil 3x0 Paraguay
The scoreboard has not deigned to tell us how long injury-time will be, but Casemio has just had a shot deflected wide by Valdez; from the corner, the ref espies an infringement.
"BRAZIL PLAYED THE BEAUTIFUL" says Google translate.
WHAT A GOAL! Brasil 3x0 Paraguay (Marcelo) This is wonderful! Coutinho moves infield and plays into Paulinho who, back to goal, stuns a kind of backspinning through ball the sends Marcelo in. He could square, he could slot him with his right foot, but instead uses the outside of his left to curl home over the top of the diving Silva. Great stuff!
Thiago Silva appears to have come on, and he's the first to meet Neymar's free-kick, heading over the bar from six yards after overrunning the flight of the ball.
Neymar picks up possession close to halfway and as he saunters goalwards Perez runs behind him, rapping the backs of his knees on general principle. He's booked.
Paraguay force their way forward and win a corner down the left. Dominguez and Miranda both miss their headers so the ball's allowed to bounce, creating a millisecond of panic before it's humped clear.
Yet another foul on Neymar gives Brazil a free-kick 30 yards out, just left of centre, and this time Paulinho is behind hit. He goes for more power than Neymar usually so employs, so might at least hurt the man in the wall when he inevitably hits him, as he does - it's Dominguez.
But within seconds Neymar is on the ball again, just outside the box, again left of centre. He quickly swipes a low shot towards the far corner, which whizzes only just wide.
Well this is somewhat odd. Augusto charges down a clearance and it shoots into Neymar's path. Inside the box, left-hand side, he bends a finish into the corner, jogs over to the corner flag, kneels down and points it like a sniper. Then the ref disallows the goal for offside. Unlucky!
Paraguay win a free-kick wide on the left which Dominguez curls in and which Alisson misjudges - no! I hear you gasp - but yes he did. Sill, he readjusts well to punch clear.
Neymar is enjoying himself now, weaving infield and spreading wide for Fagner, whose cross into the middle is decent, but Veron just about manages to head clear.
Paraguay knock it about along their back-four. They've got to pass the time somehow, I guess.
GOAL DO BRASIL! NEYMAR JUNIOR! Brasil 2x0 Paraguay (Neymar) Redemption! Neymar picks up possession around halfway and speeds off towards the box, and when he reaches it, Da Silva backs off and backs off, feart he'll go outside even though he knows he's going inside. So he goes inside and curls a shot towards the far corner, which clips Valdez and lifts over the keeper who's already committed to a dive. I think Brazil might win this one.
Casemiro bursts forward, so Santander slides in - I think he might just have got the ball, but the ref gives a foul, 20 yards out, close to the left corner of the box. Neymar hits it into the wall, and Paraguay flood out.
So confident was whoever does Brazil's official Twitter that he tweeted a goal when that penalty was given. Never mind.
Second change for Paraguay: Santander replaces Gonzalez.
Neymar's own teammates should be tackling him late for that run-up.
Neymar does some weird, attention-seeking stepping, approaches the ball too straight, and can't get the angle he's after! His shot is too close to Silva, to his right, AND SILVA SAVES IT!
PENALTY TO BRAZIL! It's been coming. Neymar saunters inside Da Silva, and as he's preparing to shoot, Perez slides in to perhaps get the ball; Silva is profoundly upset,
Nice from Paulinho again, breaking forward and finding Coutinho on the right. Very deliberately, he then measures a low cross to the far post, where Neymar slides in, but not in time to score. He pokes just wide and then clatters the post, so there's a pause while he recovers.
Paulinho has got this late arrival thing down, so when Coutinho's cross is heeled away by Veron, he chests down and lashes a volley just wide. Should've scored.
Oscar Romero is on for Paraguay; for who I cannot say.
Off we go again.
The players are returning.
Brazil weren't great, and Paraguay missed a great chance to score before they went behind, but they're just not anywhere near as good and will do well to get away with 2-0.
Half-time: Brasil 1x0 Paraguay
I'd agree with this - his running power and touch around the box is very handy.
Paraguay don't look like they've the got the slightest clue how to score - an impediment to scoring, though by no means foolproof.
40 yards out, Neymar flips the free-kick into the box, where Veron heads clear.
Coutinho nudges the ball away from Perez, who jumps into his face. Free-kick and no more.
Paraguay win a free-kick down the left, close to the corner flag, and it's bent into the near post where the flick-on is imparted, but too strongly, such the ball flies across the face of goal, plays Marcelo, and goes out for a throw. It comes to nowt.
That goal has relaxed Brasil - they're pretty much reclining into passes now.
That was a remarkably confident, competent finish.
GOAL! Brasil 1-0 Paraguay (Coutinho) This is beautifully done, Coutinho nashing down and in off the right, snapping inside to Paulinho, running off him, picking up the return, and smacking a low curler definitively into the far corner.
Paulinho has been the best player on the pitch so far, and he clips a ball over the top for Neymar, who collects, lobs Silva, and collects again, only Valdez had moved up just in time to catch him offside.
Neymar shows up on the right and looks to cross low for Firmino, but sends the ball behind him. so to feel better, he pulls down Veron, allowing Silva to hump downfield.
Marcelo clips Perez around the chops, and several seconds later, Perez goes down. The ref is entirely unarsed.
Almiron takes a pass off Perez and zones through the middle - he's got Dominguez outside him and in plenty, but instead of rolling him in he thrashes over the top.
Neymar tries floating his kick towards the far post, and it's drifting miles wide, but Silva decides to claw it back into play just to feel loved. Seconds later, he's blocking Firmino's close-range, which is just as well, given the ball was only alive because of him.
But the ball comes back to Neymar, he shimmies past Perez, is brought down again, and that's another free-kick, this time close to the edge of the box.
But there we are! Neymar bustles inside, exchanges passes with Coutinhi, and takes a straight arm in the phizog from Da Silva. Free-kick Brazil, 25 yards out, just left of centre ... and Neymar hits it into the wall.
Paulinho looks a player, not words anyone ever supposed to type, and here he is driving down the right to win a corner - Neymar's cross is then punched clear.
Neymar wanders infield and joins Firmino and Coutinho in building up, but then overhits his pass out wide to Marcelo and the move comes to an abrupt end. On the plus side, he hasn't been violently assaulted for ten minutes.
Very nice from Brazil, quick interplay down the right allowing Paulinho into the box, where he was shut off by Valdez. There are screams and jostles for a penalty, but the ref is having none of it.
Marcelo finds space down the left and rolls a pass into space for Paulinho, tanking across from inside. But Perez is working back and does enough to force the ball into touch.
Paraguay make the game a little scrappy, which is exactly what they'll have planned. Brazil, though, look composed and patient, looking for angles ... until Miranda looks for Casemiro, Riversos snaps in, and with his tackle sends Gonzalez streaking through at inside-right. This is a proper chance! But he drags his finish across Alisson and wide of the near post.
A smart pass out of defence from Marquinhos finds Marcelo haring away down the left. He looks up to cross, then slices way over the bar.
And there's another! Neymar eases past Almiron, dead centre, 40 yards out; he's fouled again, then leathers the free-kick straight at Silva.
Neymar curls the free-kick into the box and Paulinho heads it over the top.
Neymar is fouled for the second of many times, taking possession on the top left corner of the box. His back is to goal but Valdez isn't arsed, ploughing through him to concede a free-kick and earn a booking.
Neymar is fouled for the first of many times, Rojas falling into him for no real reason - he was close to halfway and threatening nothing.
Brazil knock the ball along their back-four until Perez gets bored and worries Marquinhos. He puts the ball out for a throw, but Brazil soon recover possession.
I'll level with you: I couldn't find English commentary, so you'll have to bear with me.
You can read a match preview here:
Elsewhere, Colombia lead 2-0 in Ecuador. Still, they'll always have this.
Just looking at that qualifying group has made me want to chuck in everything and go to South America.
Paraguay, meanwhile, beat Ecuador at home, so will have some confidence themselves.
For the first time in a while, Brazil look like they're getting somewhere. At the weekend, they thrumped Uruguay 4-1 in Montevideo, and make only one change from that game; Dani Alves is suspended, so Fagner comes in.
As is stands:
Brazil top South American qualifying with 30 points from 13 games, Colombia have 24 from 14 and Uruguay and Chile 23 from 13 and 14 respectively. The fifth-placed team would need a play-off to reach Russia; currently, that's Argentina, who lost to Bolivia earlier tonight and have 22 points from 14 games; Ecuador have 20 from 14, and Paraguay 18 from 13.
Right then, eyes down for some more football.