Liverpool's Adam Lallana out of Merseyside derby with thigh injury

Doyle BarkerMar 30, 2017

Brazil became the first side, other than hosts Russian Federation, to book their place in the 2018 World Cup finals after a classy 3-0 win against Paraguay, with star man Neymar once again scoring a superb goal.

Brazil extended its cushion atop CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying Tuesday night, defeating Paraguay 3-0 in Sao Paulo. "This is Brazil. If focused, our team is the best", he told journalists before the South American zone leader's World Cup qualifying match against seventh-place Paraguay on Tuesday.

Paris Saint-Germain's Cavani struck from the spot against Brazil to save his country's blushes, but the Ligue 1 top scorer (27 goals) failed to find the target as the Celeste fell in Lima.

Messi's four-game ban, for abusing a linesman in last week's qualifier, was announced by Federation Internationale de Football Association just hours before Argentina faced Bolivia away. With the 3-0 victory over Argentina in the same stadium where Brazil had been humiliated against Germany, the coach's reputation was enhanced.

But Neymar also accepted he had to change to get to the current level of play. "It is regrettable that he could not play, but even more so that there was no time for me to work with someone else", Bauza said.

"We are alive and we want to qualify for the World Cup". Dunga's surprising appointment as head coach after Brazil lost their home World Cup distanced many fans.

Coutinho was in Brazil's squad for a World Cup qualifier at home to Paraguay yesterday along with club-mate Roberto Firmino.

In the 85th, Neymar and Coutinho exchanged passes, found Paulinho at the edge of the box and the midfielder used his heel to find Marcelo in front of the goalkeeper.

The result opened the prospect of a possible early qualification for Brazil, which has won seven straight and has 30 points from 13 matches in qualifying.

Their defenders are solid at the back, and goal-machines like Neymar are finding the back of the net easily. The Brazilians were playing Paraguay and Chile was against last-place Venezuela in later matches.

However, Press Association Sport understands Lallana sustained a kick during that match and is hampered by a thigh injury which prevented him from training on Tuesday with the rest of his team-mates who returned from worldwide duty.

Neymar made amends for the missed penalty by scoring minutes later in the 64th minute.

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