Video: Lionel Messi beaten, outmuscled and outpaced by Neymar
Barcelona teammates and superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar went head to head against each other during Brazil’s thrashing of Argentina 3 0, with the Brazilian getting the better of his Argentine teammate at club level.
As Neymar picked the ball up just in his own half and drove at the Argentine right back, he nudged the ball ahead of the full back powering past the defender who was left stranded, as Messi chased down the Brazilian captain at full tilt, only to be outmuscled and outpaced by Neymar.
However, the resulting ball into the box from the captain met no Brazilian player as the chance went begging, but screamers from the in-form Liverpool winger Phillipe Coutinho and the Brazilian boy wonder Neymar himself saw Brazil cruise to a two-goal lead heading into the halftime break.
Brazil put the seal on the lid with a second half effort from Paulinho to seal the three points giving Brazilian manager Tite a huge boost in his bid to continue the record of Brazil entering every FIFA World Cup post World War 2.
Neymar's goal in first-half stoppage time was his 50th goal for the Brazil national team. Having outplayed, outscored and dominated proceedings from the start of the game, Brazil outmatched Argentina in every department of the game as Brazil continued their superb form under new manager.
The humiliating defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Brazil saw Argentina slump to their second defeat in the last four games in the COMNEBOL World Cup Qualifying group stage. Manager Edgardo Bauza’s job is under immense scrutiny following the loss as he has registered only four wins out of 11 qualifying games, since his appointment as manager of Argentina.
La Albiceleste currently sit in sixth place, a point behind Chile who sit in the last possible qualifying spot, fifth. The top four will qualify automatically to the World Cup finals in Russia while a fifth place finish guarantees a playoff berth in the inter-confederation qualifiers against one of the countries from the AFC, CONCACAF, and OFC to determine the last two spots in the World Cup finals.
However, manager Bauza remains confident that Argentina will qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Brazil, on the other hand, sit pretty on the top of the group standings with 24 points having played 11 games. Currently, on a five-match win streak, the Brazilian camp is on a high as they look to seal their berth into the 2018 World Cup. Neymar and Messi head back to Barcelona as they welcome Malaga to the Nou Camp with the El Clasico on the horizon.