What’s better than a win over your biggest rivals? One that leaves them in real danger of failing to reach the next World Cup, that’s what.
A reborn Brazil side won Thursday night’s Superclássico das Américas in commanding style, condemning Argentina to a defeat that leaves them SIXTH in the qualifying group, fully eight points behind their hosts.
Philippe Coutinho got the ball rolling for the Selecao with a trademark rocket from range before Neymar gave his side breathing space before half-time. Former Tottenham man Paulinho then added a deflected third, handing Brazil coach Tite his fifth win since taking over from Dunga earlier this year.
When Brazil coach Tite called up his first squad for the two rounds of qualifiers in September, the big surprise was the inclusion of Paulinho, an expensive flop at Tottenham who is now playing his club football in China. But Tite knew what he was doing. He and Paulinho worked together with an enormous success at Corinthians, and the coach was well aware of the midfielder’s all-around virtues. This match was a showcase.
When Messi was threatening to run amok in the early stages, it was Paulinho who dropped to fill in space and help out with the marking. And in the second half, with Argentina forced forward, gaps emerged for him to push on in search of a goal. He was unlucky with a shot cleared off the line, but Paulinho was not kept waiting for long, arriving in the box in trademark style to rifle home goal No. 3 and round off a memorable night for Brazil and their new coach.
- Brazil has won five straight qualifiers since Tite took charge, surging to the top of South American qualifying
- Argentina hasn’t won in four qualifiers now, and sit outside the qualifying spots.
- Goals from Neymar, Coutinho and Paulinho, ensured victory for the Selecao