Bolivia 0-4 Brazil: Selecao end qualification on high note at altitude

Ante Jukic
Stats Perform
Lucas Paqueta and Antony celebrate Brazil's opener against Bolivia.
Lucas Paqueta and Antony celebrate Brazil's opener against Bolivia.

Brazil maintained their unbeaten record in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday after a 4-0 win over Bolivia in La Paz.

At the notoriously tricky Estadio Hernando Siles, first-half goals from Lucas Paqueta, Richarlison and Bruno Guimaraes proved the difference.

With the likes of Neymar, Casemiro, Vinicius Junior and Fred all rested, Tite's side were by no means dominant, but characteristically did enough to secure a 14th win out of 17 games.

Though qualification is not technically finished for Brazil, with their abandoned game with Argentina set to be rescheduled, that fixture with their arch-rivals will likely be nothing more than a glorified friendly for both teams as they prepare for the finals in Qatar.

The best chance in the opening 20 minutes fell to the hosts, with Henry Vaca cutting inside on Marquinhos and shooting straight at Allisson.

They were made to pay only moments later via fantastic individual work from Paqueta in the 24th minute, the Lyon man playing a one-two with Guimaraes before coolly converting with only Ruben Cordano to beat in the Bolivian goal.

With a simple tap-in, Richarlison doubled the advantage just before half-time. Fabinho drove up the pitch upon Brazil gaining possession and Antony picked out the Everton attacker free at the back post to provide the assist.

It wasn't all clear skies for the Selecao in the altitude of La Paz, with Alisson again called into action in the 52nd minute to keep out Ramiro Vaca's deflected effort.

Alisson was left scrambling only two minutes later with Henry Vaca providing a dangerous cross to the back post for his namesake, who could not get a foot onto the ball for what would have been a certain goal.

Brazil were ruthless when presented opportunities and Guimaraes spectacularly made it three in the 66th minute after another quick counter, volleying home a first-time volley following good work from Gabriel Martinelli.

Richarlison rounded off the scoring from a quick throw-in during injury time, following up Rodrygo's initial attempt after a Guimaraes dart behind the defensive line.

What does it mean? - Brazil rise to Bolivia challenge

Brazil centre-back Thiago Silva has recently called for changes to the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying structure he says leads to too much wear and tear.

But the Selecao came through one of the tougher tests in South America, winning in La Paz in relatively routine fashion despite the challenge of playing 3,500 metres above sea level.

Paqueta importance amplified

Especially with Neymar and Casemiro rested, Paqueta again reinforced how critical he is to Brazil in possession. As Brazil's only midfielder willing to receive the ball between the opposition's defensive and midfield line, he has become a crucial reference point under Tite and opened the scoring here with his seventh senior international goal.

Bolivia limp to the line

Defeat for Bolivia made it four successive defeats to end their qualifying campaign, including a 4-1 loss to last-placed Venezuela, a run that ended any hope of them claiming the intercontinental play-off spot.

What's next?

While Bolivia could be used as sparring partners in upcoming international windows, Brazil are yet to confirm any friendlies in the lead-up to November's finals in Qatar.


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