Under a new manager, Neymar and company are flying.
Brazilian football has faced consistent drama and disappointment since their triumph at the 2007 Copa America, but the Selecao might have their best team in a decade at the moment. They became the first team to qualify for the World Cup on Tuesday, defeating Paraguay to go nine points clear at the top of CONMEBOL qualifying.
Brazil fired manager Dunga early in qualifying, but his replacement, Tite, has been a roaring success. He guided Corinthians to the 2015 Brasileiro title, plus their first ever Copa Libertadores win back in 2012. Since taking over Brazil, he’s won all nine of his matches.
Tuesday’s victory was just the mathematical confirmation of what they all but locked up on Friday. Brazil was stunning in their 4-1 win away over Uruguay, arguably the second-best team in CONMEBOL qualifying.
Goal of the day
Marcelo’s exclamation point finish against Paraguay that was set up by Paulinho with a gorgeous backheel. After scoring a hat trick against Uruguay, Paulinho provided two assists on Tuesday. (@ESbeINSPORTS)
In the news
Kenyan player Clifton Miheso claims he was forced to terminate his contract at gunpoint and has filed a complaint with FIFA. (BBC)
Tottenham Hotspur has announced that Erik Lamela is out for the season. (Cartilage Free Captain)
Barcelona’s Gerard Pique went off on Real Madrid again, saying he doesn’t like their values. (ESPN FC)
Juventus’ Marco Pjaca is out for the year with a torn ACL. (@HNS_CFF)
A video assistant referee was used in France vs. Spain, and it helped refs make correct calls against Les Bleus. (Guardian)
Barcelona’s buyback clause states they have to sign Gerard Deulofeu by June 30, and they’re expected to. (Sport)
Daniele De Rossi is out at least one game, and probably two, with a bad hematoma. (Football Italia)
Arsene Wenger is going to announce he’s staying at Arsenal if they beat Manchester City. (Mirror)
You should be reading
Matt Ford on Bavaria’s biggest derby, Bayern youth vs. 1860 youth. (The Set Pieces)
Nick Wells on indoor soccer legend Hector Marinaro and the decline of the indoor game. (In bed with Maradona)
Gabriele Marcotti on video assistant refs being far from perfect, but ultimately right for the game. (ESPN FC)
Some USMNT reading
Here’s what we learned from the 1-1 draw against Panama. (Stars and Stripes FC)
Christian Pulisic and Darlington Nagbe are the core of the USMNT now, plus other takeaways.
It’s time for the USMNT to stop playing Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones together.
What the United States needs to do to qualify for the World Cup.
The other things that happened on Tuesday
Get caught up on all the World Cup qualifying results and standings from around the world here. (FIFA)