Brazil 1-0 Colombia: Paqueta nets as Selecao qualify for 2022 World Cup
Brazil qualified for the 2022 World Cup after Lucas Paqueta's second-half strike secured a 1-0 victory over Colombia.
Tite's Brazil knew a win on Thursday would book their spot at Qatar 2022 and the Selecao claimed the result they needed in hard-fought fashion on home soil.
Paqueta and Neymar combined for the decisive goal in the 72nd minute as CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying leaders Brazil stayed unbeaten through 12 rounds.
Brazil entered the contest having never lost a game against Colombia in all their previous 13 meetings in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying (W6 D7). However, the Selecao had only won one of their last six games in this fixture.
It was a cagey start in Sao Paulo, where Brazil star Neymar was fortunate to escape punishment after getting into the face of referee Roberto Tobar.
The first half came to life during the closing stages as both teams had chances to open the scoring – Brazil finally got in behind Colombia and Danilo's cross deflected onto the post nine minutes before half-time.
Colombia star Luis Diaz then almost curled a stunning long-range effort into the back of the net three minutes later but it flashed just wide of the post, while Brazil's Marquinhos saw his header narrowly miss the far corner of the net on the stroke of half-time.
Like the opening 45 minutes, there was not much separating the two teams until Paqueta popped up to put Brazil ahead.
After Colombia failed to clear the ball properly, Brazil capitalised with 18 minutes remaining – Neymar playing a one-touch pass through to Paqueta, who managed to find a way past David Ospina in instinctive fashion.
What does it mean? Brazil maintain World Cup streak
Brazil have never missed the World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1930 and the five-time champions extended that run thanks to Thursday's win. The South American powerhouse have gone five games without defeat since losing the Copa America final to bitter rivals Argentina in July.
Paqueta continues to star
After a difficult end to his Milan career, Paqueta has returned to form with Lyon in Ligue 1 and it has translated onto the international stage. The 24-year-old has scored four goals for Brazil this year. Half the goals scored by Paqueta for Brazil (three of six) have been assisted by Neymar.
Colombia cannot buy a goal at the moment. La Tricolor have gone four matches without a goal following three consecutive 0-0 draws in qualifying. Colombia last found the back of the net in September's 3-1 win over Chile.
Brazil will be back in action against Argentina on Tuesday, while fifth-placed Colombia host Paraguay on the same day.