Brazil beat Colombia 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier in São Paulo to become the first South American team to qualify for Qatar 2022. Lucas Paquetá scored the vital goal after 72 minutes with a shot that David Ospina got a hand to but could not stop.
The result means Brazil top the 10-team group with 34 points from 12 games, nine clear of second-placed Argentina, who play Uruguay on Friday. The top four teams qualify automatically and the fifth-placed side go into an inter-regional play-off.
The win extended Brazil’s home run in qualifiers to 11 consecutive victories, a South American record, and marked their 10th consecutive home qualifier without conceding a goal, another record.
The match was feisty with neither side imposing themselves on a rainy surface in a physical game that produced 44 fouls and seven yellow cards. Brazil made a series of attacking changes in the second half, introducing Matheus Cunha, Vinícius Jr and the Ajax winger Antony, but it took a moment of magic from Paquetá to decide the game, when he took a pass from Neymar and fired home from just inside the box.
“We’re ready,” the defender Marquinhos said. “We just need to keep working.” Who goes with Brazil 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.
An own goal by the goalkeeper Antony Silva secured a 1-0 win in Paraguay for Chile, who after winning one of their first 10 qualifiers have now won their past three and are equal fourth on 16 points with Uruguay and Colombia. Silva fumbled a corner from Alexis Sánchez into his own net.
Ecuador remain third thanks to a 1-0 home win over Venezuela, Piero Hincapié scoring four minutes before half-time to lift the home side to 20 points, five behind Argentina.
Peru kept their qualification hopes alive with a 3-0 win over Bolivia in Lima to move on to 14 points. Sergio Peña, Christian Cueva and Gianluca Lapadula scored in a crushing first-half performance.