Sports, Football

Brazil, Argentina eye Qatar World Cup qualification

Published : 10 Nov 2021 08:12 PM | Updated : 12 Nov 2021 09:31 AM

Brazil host Colombia in Sao Paulo on Thursday knowing victory will book their ticket to Qatar with six World Cup qualifiers to spare following a near perfect record so far.

Even a draw for the Selecao would be enough if Uruguay lose at home to Argentina on Friday, and Brazilian media have reported that coach Tite is already planning to head to the Arab Cup in Qatar next month to check out World Cup venues and facilities.

Publically, though, Tite is not getting ahead of himself with a trip to face arch rivals Argentina in San Juan on the horizon next week.

"We have two important matches against two teams that, for me, are of the highest level," said Tite.

"A good performance and a good result against Colombia will provide us with a good preparation for Argentina."

Tite caused a surprise by recalling Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho to his squad after more than a year out, largely due to a nine-month absence with a knee injury that required three surgeries.

Read more: Immobile out of Italy’s WC qualifying deciders

"It feels like it did the first time, that's how I see it every time I'm in the squad. It's an honor to wear this jersey," said Coutinho, who has struggled for playing time this season at his club.

Brazil have dominated the single CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group, winning 10 of their 11 matches and scoring 26 goals.

Their only blemish was a 0-0 draw away to Colombia last month that brought to an end a nine-match winning run. Another tight game is likely against a team on a run of three consecutive goalless draws.

Colombia welcome back playmaker James Rodriguez for the first time in a year despite his ignominious start to life at Al-Rayyan, his new Qatari club.

Lats month, in only his third league match since leaving Everton, the former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich player was bizarrely sent off after picking up two quickfire yellow cards for protesting after he was awarded a free-kick. James's inclusion is a welcome boost for Colombia, who will be without injured veteran striker Radamel Falcao. Colombia are currently locked in a tight battle to qualify automatically for the World Cup alongside Ecuador and Uruguay.

The three sides are separated by a single point in the battle to finish in the top four places, with the fifth-placed finishers heading into an inter-confederation play-off.

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