Paraguay v Brazil Live Commentary & Result, 09/06/2021, WC Qualification South America


27′ In a mostly empty stadium tonight, the echoes of crowds means that the game noise billows around dramatically. Play grinds to another injury halt now, as Cardoza and Casemiro come together.

25′ Hello, a spot of controversy! Paraguay think they should have a penalty but the referee waves any shout away. The incident in question sees Alderete land a close-range header onto Alex Sandro’s upper arm; it would have arguably been harsh to give, though they have happened before.

23′ With play back underway now, Paraguay set about pushing downfield again. The hosts haven’t quote got it figured out in the final third but they very much are giving the impression of a side who is relishing the chance to go forward.

21′ Gomez will get a yellow card for his foul on Neymar, as medics continue to attend to the forward.

20′ It wouldn’t be a Brazil international without a Neymar injury scare, would it? Having opened the scoring, the PSG man is now down after Gomez trimmed him across the back of the ankle unnecessarily.

18′ In their change strip of blue and white today – and very natty it is too! – the Selecao just seem to have the answers in terms of cutting off supply to Miguel Almiron. The 5-3-2 formation Paraguay have chosen is still serving up opportunities however.

16′ It’s been a fairly well-matched affair so far in terms of opportunity, though Brazil have nudged more efforts on target. Tite barks something from his technical area as Paraguay look to slip around the press once more.

14′ Richarlison latches onto a dipping cross and nearly punches it beyond Silva with the side of his boot. Brazil stray offside from the subsequent corner and Paraguay take a moment to steady their ship.

12′ Perhaps the most notable element of Brazil’s game so far? How rigid and high they are holding their defensive line in that 4-2-2-2 formation. The unorthodox approach means there’s a wall of four bodies at any given moment, stretched across the pitch with imposing power there.

10′ This has the makings of a lively contest, providing Paraguay do not allow themselves to be exploited too readily at the back. Brazil have the upper hand, but with a long way to go in this one, victory is far from certain.

8′ Another corner for the hosts now and this one causes a little bit more trouble for Brazil, a defensive mix-up forcing Ederson to scuttle off his line and see off any impending danger.

6′ Like a bat out of hell for Brazil! Paraguay look a little shell-shocked and no wonder. They’re quick to respond though, immediately forcing their way back downfield from the off.

4′ Jesus gets some attention there en-route to making the crucial intervention. He could have possibly gone down in the box and won a penalty, but in keeping his feet, he’s landed the first assist of the night.

4′ GOAL! NEYMAR HANDS BRAZIL A QUICK-FIRE LEAD INSIDE THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES! 1-0! Start as you mean to go on, eh? The Paris Saint-Germain man adds another to his Selecao tally with a scruffy close-range finish – though he won’t care – burying a rickety Gabriel Jesus pass from across the box in at the near-left post.

3′ This game is barely three minutes old and it’s already got more than a hint of spice. As Paraguay blow an early corner, players on both sides appear to be jostling a little harder than is strictly necessary this early on.

1′ We are underway in this CONMEBOL Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier between Paraguay and Brazil!

The teams have emerged in Asuncion for the national anthems and we are moments away from kick-off.

We say that this could be a surprise result, but let’s not pretend Paraguay are complete novices. Though they may be 35th in the world – Brazil are third – they’ve won as many games against the Selecao as they’ve lost in their last five meetings.

Subs: Alisson, Rodrigo Caio, Everton Ribeiro, Weverton, Emerson, Fabinho, Renan Lodi, Lucas Paqueta, Vinicius Junior, Everton, Gabriel Barbosa, Felipe.

BRAZIL (4-2-2-2): Ederson; Danilo, Eder Militao, Marquinhos, Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Fred; Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison; Roberto Firmino, Neymar.

Subs: Fabian Balbuena, Robert Piris Da Motta, Alejandro Romero Gamarra, Gabriel Avalos, Alfredo Aguilar, Alberto Espinola, Andres Cubas, David Martinez, Braian Samudio, Antonio Bareiro, Oscar Romero, Gerardo Ortiz.

PARAGUAY (5-3-2): Antony Silva; Robert Rojas, Gustavo Gomez, Junior Alonso, Omar Alderete, Santiago Arzamendia; Mathias Villasanti, Gaston Gimenez, Angel Cardozo; Miguel Almiron, Angel Romero.

It’s three changes for the visitors, with Ederson handed the gloves and Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmono both drafted into the starting XI. The hosts make a pair of swaps: Junior Alonso and Santiago Arzamendia get the nod to begin from the off.

Paraguay – quarter-finalists at South Africa 2010 a decade ago, of course – are looking to book their first return since this time around, having missed out on Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018. A surprise victory here could vault them into the top four and keep them firmly on the front foot.

The rescheduled tournament, shifted from Argentina and Colombia to the Selecao’s own backyard, has attracted widespread criticism from its players, with talks of a boycott. But all their focus today will surely be on ensuring they head back with another three points.

Having swatted aside Ecuador on home soil last week, Tite’s side make the trip across the continent now with a view to further strengthening their spot at the head of the race for next year’s tournament – and possibly to fine-tune ahead of a controversial Copa America.

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the CONMEBOL Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers as Brazil look to keep their spotless record intact against fellow hopefuls Paraguay at Estadio Defensores del Chaco in Asuncion.



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Lexie Ayers
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