Brazil will be looking to extend their impressive unbeaten run in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying to 33 games when they play host to Chile at the Maracana Stadium on Thursday. The Selecao have already qualified for this year’s tournament in Qatar, while Chile are currently three points behind the top-four automatic qualification places.
The Selecao are on a 32-game unbeaten run in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers. Having already qualified for the Qatar 2022 finals, Tite’s men are chasing Argentina’s record of 43 points in a single qualifying campaign. If they win their remaining fixtures, they can accumulate as many as 45 points.
Chile, currently three points behind a top-four automatic qualification spot, are desperate to pick points and will be hoping to build on their 3-2 win against Bolivia last month.
Brazil have enjoyed a dominant qualification campaign so far, winning 12 and drawing three of their 15 matches, and it was after just 12 fixtures when they officially qualified for the 2022 World Cup in November last year.
The Selecao are the only national team in world football to qualify for every World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1930.
Tite will have been slightly disappointed when his side played out a 1-1 draw against Ecuador last month, but they managed to bounce back with an emphatic 4-0 victory against Paraguay with Raphinha, Philippe Coutinho, Antony and Rodrygo all on the scoresheet, the latter scoring his first senior goal for the national team.
Brazil’s sole target will now be to prevent South American rivals Argentina from snatching the top spot in CONMEBOL Qualifying, and victory in their next two qualifiers against Chile and Bolivia would guarantee their place at the summit.
The Selecao currently sit four points above La Albiceleste, with both nations having either two or three fixtures remaining. It still remains to be seen whether their previously postponed fixture against each other, following the COVID-19 fiasco in September last year, will be rearranged.
Brazil: COVID-19 keeps Raphinha out of action, with goalkeeper Ederson forced out due to illness, while Gabriel Magalhaes misses out due to personal reasons.
Meanwhile, Neymar is set to return after missing Brazil’s last three World Cup qualification games. Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson is also out with illness, meaning Alisson will likely start.
Chile: As for Chile – Ben Brereton Diaz has been sidelined for some time now, but he’s back in the squad and will be assessed before the game on Thursday. Star players Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez are both available.
Brazil – 5
Draw – 2
Chile – 1
Brazil Predicted XI: Alisson; Danilo, Silva, Marquinhos, Telles; Paqueta, Casemiro, Coutinho; Vinicius Jr, Richarlison, Neymar
Chile Predicted XI: Bravo, Kuscevic, Medel, Maripan; Isla, Aranguiz, Vidal, Pulgar, Suazo; Vargas, Sanchez