With Ajax striker Antony in the starting lineup for the first time, Brazil secured first place in the South American qualifying group. The five-time world champion beat Chile at the Maracaña stadium in Rio de Janeiro thanks to goals from Neymar (penalty), Vinícius Júnior, Philippe Coutinho (penalty) and Richarlison who replaced Antony.
The 22-year-old Ajax scored the winning goal against Feyenoord (3-2) on Sunday but was also shown red in injury time due to delays. Antony left the Johan Cruijff ArenA with an ankle injury on crutches, but was fit enough for his first basic national team spot on Thursday.
Anger in Peru
There was a lot to do around Uruguay’s victory. Peru are angry with an alleged goal in the 96th minute. Goalkeeper Sergio Rochet (ex-AZ) grabbed the ball before it crossed the line, but according to many Peruvians he ended up behind the line. However, the refereeing didn’t allow Peru a goal, which means they could forget the direct qualification for the World Cup.
Canada misses an opportunity
Canadian footballers missed their first chance to earn a ticket to the World Cup. National coach John Herdman’s team lost 1-0 to Costa Rica in San José, Canada’s first defeat in this qualifier. The North American country still has two chances to qualify for the world final for the second time, after making its World Cup debut in 1986.
Canada had to continue with ten men after half an hour, after Mark-Anthony Kaye was sent off with his second yellow card. Celso Borges scored in added time in the first half, leaving Costa Rica with 19 points to go on to qualify directly for the World Cup.
“It’s also football,” Herdman said. “We went unbeaten for 17 games but the football gods were not with us today. We are not looking back, we have our destiny in our hands. We are going to Qatar.
Canada still leads the standings with 25 points in 12 games. The United States and Mexico follow with 22 points. Their mutual duel in Mexico ended in a draw: 0-0. Ajax midfielder Edson Álvarez played the whole match for Mexico, PSV player Érick Gutiérrez joined the team 10 minutes before the end. Heracles Almelo’s Luca de la Torre remained on the bench with the Americans.
Numbers 1 to 3 of Concacaf, the association of North and Central American and Caribbean countries, qualify directly for the World Cup. Number 4 gets a second chance in an intercontinental play-off. Canada can still qualify against Jamaica on Sunday in Toronto or another chance against Panama will follow three days later.
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