Brazil becomes first country to qualify 2018 World Cup


It was Brazil's ninth consecutive win in qualifying event which ensure they will finish the 10-nation group in at least fifth place.

After sinking into a protracted depression after the trauma of their humiliating 2014 World Cup exit, Brazil have undergone a transformation since new manager Tite took over a year ago.

However the sacking of former coach Dunga and the appointment of former Corinthians coach Tite was the catalyst for a Brazilian resurgence.

With Dani Alves suspended after picking up a booking in the 4-1 win in Uruguay, Brazil were forced to make a change, bringing in Fagner to replace the Juventus star. Ecuador dropped out of the top five for the first time, slipping to sixth with 20 points.

Brazil's clash against Paraguay in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers is going to be special for Barcelona forward Neymar, who will lead the team in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

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Meanwhile, the families of the dead and injured set about the hard task of piecing together their lives. Mrs Cochran's sister, Shantell Payne, said: "We haven't really talked about what happened with her".

Tite meanwhile has attempted to keep the soaring optimism that accompanied Brazil's revival in check, insisting that he is not a miracle-worker.

But the national team of Paraguay in its history, such great achievements as the Brazilians - was not famous, however, it did not stop them eight times making their way to the final stages of the world championships.

With four rounds of fixtures remaining, Brazil have 33 points, followed by Colombia (24), Uruguay and Chile (23).

Yet if Brazil's passage to Russian Federation is now a formality, the situation is anything but straightforward for the chasing pack. Argentina (22) are in fifth place, which earns a two-leg play-off against the top-ranked Oceania region side.

Argentina has 22 points from six wins and four draws, putting coach Edgardo Bauza under intense pressure to step aside.

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During his time overseas Kathrada also visited the Auschwitz concentration camp, where his criticism of non-racialism grew. Another stalwart and Robben Island prison mate, Sophie Williams-de Bruyn will also talk to the public during the funeral.

Two-time World Cup winners Argentina face a battle to qualify for Russian Federation with their 0-2 loss to Bolivia in La Paz leaving them fifth, a point behind Chile.

Brazil are back in action on the road to Russian Federation 2018, playing host to Paraguay in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

The further embarrassment of a first round exit at last year's Copa America Centenario only deepened the sense of despondency.

Captain Claudio Bravo vowed "La Roja" would go all out to secure victory against Venezuela. We now have more confidence to seek our identity and we did it.

Romelu Lukaku the goal machine
Meanwhile, Townsend's superb solo goal in the late stages of Palace's 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on March 4 saw him rewarded. Everton's Romelu Lukaku has been named Premier League player of the month for March after an incredible month for the Toffees.