Brazil’s near-perfect qualification campaign continued with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Colombia last night in São Paulo. Lyon’s Lucas Paquetá scored in the second half to secure all three points, while Thiago Silva & Co kept a clean sheet at the other end.
With 11 wins from 12 played — the only draw coming away to Colombia last month — Brazil have now also confirmed their spot in next
summer’s winter’s World Cup, accomplishing one of the last few remaining career goals for Silva, who captained the team last night as usual.
Brazil are the fourth team to qualify after Germany, Denmark, and hosts Qatar. Germany were also in action yesterday, easily dispatching Liechtenstein, 9-0. Nine! Alas, neither Timo Werner nor Kai Havertz got to participate in this useless goalfest — both injured at the moment (hamstring, thigh contusion, respectively). Antonio Rüdiger did play the full-90.
Also missing out on a useless goalfest was Mateo Kovačić, currently also injured and so just watching from home as Croatia beat Malta, 7-1. Former Chelsea prospect Mario Pašalić got one of the seven, giving him three goals in qualifying.
Elsewhere, César Azpilicueta came off the bench for the closing minutes to help see out Spain’s 1-0 win over Greece, while both Baba Rahman and Édouard Mendy were party to draws, 1-1 against Ethiopia for Ghana and 1-1 against Togo for Senegal, respectively. Senegal have already secured their place in the next round of qualifiers, but Ghana will need to beat South Africa on Sunday if they also want to continue on and stay in contention for the World Cup.