Brazil beat Colombia to qualify for 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Brazil's Lucas Paqueta (C) celebrates with teammates Vinicius Junior (L) and Neymar after scoring against Colombia during the South American qualification football match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, at the Neo Quimica Arena, previously known as Arena Corinthians, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 11, 2021.

Brazil beat Colombia 1-0 in Sao Paulo on Thursday to become the first South American team to qualify for Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Lucas Paqueta got the vital goal 72 minutes into the match with a shot that goalkeeper David Ospina got a hand to but could not stop.

Brazil lead the 10-team South American qualifying group with 34 points from 12 games, nine clear of second-placed Argentina.

The top four teams qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.

The win extended Brazil’s home run in the qualifiers to 11 consecutive victories, a record in the South American region. The game also marked their 10th consecutive home qualifier without conceding a goal, another record.

James Rodríguez (L) of Colombia competes for the ball with Lucas Paquetá of Brazil during a match between Brazil and Colombia as part of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers at Neo Quimica Arena on November 11, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Sixth-place Uruguay can still total Brazil's 34 points, but face Chile in the last round of qualifying, which makes it mathematically impossible for both of them to overtake the Selecao.

The top four teams in South America earn direct entry to the World Cup.

Also on Thursday, third-place Ecuador beat last-place Venezuela 1-0 with a goal by Piero Hincapié and Chile had a key 1-0 victory at Paraguay thanks to an own goal by Antony Silva after a corner kick.

Peru defeated Bolivia 3-0, with goals by Gianluca Lapadula, Christian Cueva and Sergio Peña. Uruguay will host Argentina on Friday.

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