Brazil looks to make it 10/10 with Neymar’s return

Argentina will hope to extend its unbeaten run of 23 matches against Uruguay

October 10, 2021 02:30 am | Updated 02:30 am IST - SAO PAULO

Back to business:  Neymar’s return after a suspension will give Brazil a much-needed boost.

Back to business: Neymar’s return after a suspension will give Brazil a much-needed boost.

Brazil has won all nine matches in World Cup qualifying so far and could well make it 10 on Sunday at Colombia. The Brazilians lead the 10-team South American round-robin competition by eight points.

But one year before kickoff in Qatar, there are some longtime fans of the Selecao who aren’t happy with the team after Thursday’s lacklustre 3-1 win at Venezuela. And their concerns will be on coach Tite’s mind in Sunday’s match.

Argentina, which has recently struggled to get close to a qualifying spot along with Brazil, is comfortably in second place, eyeing even better days ahead due to renewed confidence since winning the latest Copa America title.

A home win against rival Uruguay could put Lionel Messi’s team even closer to qualifying directly for Qatar.

Brazil leads with 27 points and Argentina has 19 in nine matches — their clash in September was suspended after seven minutes due to COVID-19 protocols.

Ecuador and Uruguay have 16 points after 10 matches, but the Ecuadorians have more wins and hold third place. Colombia is fifth with 14 points.

The top four teams secure a spot at next year’s World Cup in Qatar. The fifth-place team will enter a playoff against a team from another confederation.

Neymar returns to Brazil after a suspension and he’s the only good news for the team after a below-par performance at Venezuela, which led the match until the 71st minute.

Tite experimented at several positions against Venezuela, and most proved disappointing against a weak opposition. Left-back Guilherme Arana and midfielders Fabinho and Gerson did not play well and that gave analysts, former players and supporters the impression that Brazil lacks depth in its squad.

Also on Sunday, Ecuador will play at last-place Venezuela.

Eighth-place Chile hosts sixth-place Paraguay and ninth-place Bolivia takes on seventh-place Peru.

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