Brazil set a new World Cup qualifying record on Tuesday with a 4-0 thrashing of Bolivia.
With 45 points, Tite’s team broke Argentina‘s record of 43 which was set in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. Belgium‘s draw with Republic of Ireland this week also means Brazil will return to the No. 1 spot in the FIFA World Ranking and will be seeded in Friday’s draw for the World Cup finals.
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Playing without suspended Neymar and Vinicius Junior, Brazil eased through in the altitude of La Paz with two goals from Richarlison and others from Lucas Paqueta and Bruno Guimaraes.
Matches in the altitude of La Paz are often dreaded by non-Bolivian players in South American qualifying. Tite came under fire before the match for describing the conditions at more than 3,600 meters (almost 12,000) feet above sea level as “inhuman.”
Tite continued to experiment with his combinations, replacing seven players that started the 4-0 win against Chile last week.
Richarlison celebrates one of his goals with Dani Alves. Javier Mamani/Getty Images
Out went right-back Danilo, defender Thiago Silva, left-back Guilherme Arana, midfielders Casemiro and Fred plus the suspended Neymar and Vinicius Jr. Tite replaced them with Dani Alves, Eder Militao, Alex Telles, Fabinho, Bruno Guimaraes, Philippe Coutinho and Richarlison.
That formation had never played together, but Brazil kept their cool and found their first goal after a run by Guimaraes’ ended with an assist to Paqueta, who easily put the ball in the back of the net.
As the first half ended, Brazil found their second with Antony‘s low cross finding Richarlison unmarked to score.
Bolivia forced goalkeeper Alisson into some important saves in the second half, but Guimaraes’ goal in the 66th, with an assist by Paqueta, ruined any chances for the hosts to turn the match around. Richarlison scored his second from close range before full-time.
FIFA wants Brazil and Argentina to go ahead and play their suspended encounter, which was stopped in its first minutes on Sept. 6 because of COVID-19 protocols, with the game likely to be played in June.