Memories of the biggest humiliation in Brazilian football and the return of Lionel Messi to Argentina were not enough to stop the five-time World Cup winners from beating their arch-rivals on Thursday in South American qualifying for the World Cup.
Brazil won in Belo Horizonte, and they won comfortably, 3-0. There were no Brazilians in tears this time, unlike at the World Cup in 2014, when the hosts infamously lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-final.
The lopsided victory over Argentina extended Brazil’s winning streak under new coach Tite to five matches, giving the qualification leaders 24 points from 11 matches. Argentina have 16. The Argentina coach, Edgardo Bauza, finds himself in an even tougher position after a poor performance in Brazil. His team remains in sixth place, outside the continent’s four automatic spots for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Elsewhere, Copa America champions Chile held third-place Colombia to a 0-0 draw away, despite the absence of Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez due to injury. Second-place Uruguay beat an Ecuador side filled with reserves 2-1 in Montevideo. The Uruguayans have 23 points, just one behind Brazil.
Elsewhere, Peru producing a shock 4-1 win in Paraguay and are now back in the race for a place in Russia. The Peruvians remain in eighth spot with 14 points, one behind seventh-place Paraguay.
In a match between the two worst teams in South American qualifiers, Venezuela trashed Bolivia 5-0 at home. Venezuela are now in ninth place with five points, one ahead of Bolivia.