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Paraguay 0-2 Brazil: 5 talking points as Neymar leads Selecao to sixth consecutive victory | 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers 

Sachin Bhat
ANALYST

#3 Fred or Paqueta - new selection conundrum for Tite

Paqueta added the finishing touches for Brazil in stoppage-time
Paqueta added the finishing touches for Brazil in stoppage-time

Fred started the match over Lucas Paqueta and turned in his best performance for Brazil in a while. However, the Manchester United star was taken off at half-time for the booking he received earlier on, with Paqueta replacing him in midfield and netting a late goal.

While the Lyon star, along with Casemiro beside him, dropped back to make life difficult for Paraguay, his attacking instincts suggest he could pop up inside the box and score an odd goal or two.

Fred, on the other hand, was crucial to regaining possession and generally dictating Brazil's tempo. But he lacks consistency, as seen in the last match to Ecuador when he dropped a stinker.

Tite has a decision to make in this part of the midfield.


#4 Paraguay's attacking flair goes missing again

Paraguay were rendered goalless for the second consecutive time
Paraguay were rendered goalless for the second consecutive time

For the second consecutive game in these qualifiers, Paraguay fired a blank. The visitors were cocooned in their own half in the opening stanza as Brazil pressed high. But even in a more balanced second-half, La Albirroja couldn't find a way past their mighty hosts.

Angel Romero, who's one of the leading scorers so far with four goals, was once again devoid of service for most of the game, leaving him isolated upfront and with nothing to feed on. As a result of their back-to-back goalless stalemates, Eduardo Berizzo's side now have the second-least number of goals in the group.

If they're to return to the World Cup, Paraguay need to find their shooting boots again.


#5 Brazil favorites for Copa America

Brazil can go all the way in Copa again
Brazil can go all the way in Copa again

Even when they took their foot off the pedal in the second-half, Brazil were oddly comfortable and never looked like conceding a goal. Paqueta instead scored a second in stoppage-time as the Selecao extended their winning run in the qualifiers to six games - the only side in the CONMEBOL with a 100% record so far.

That begs the question - are Brazil the favorites for Copa America again? Tite's side aren't perfect by any means, but have shown the caliber to win games even while not playing at their best - a stuff of champions.

Also, with the advantage of playing on home soil and talisman Neymar in top form, the odds are well-placed for Selecao to retain their crown.


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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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