NEW YORK WEATHER

Lucas Paqueta’s instinctive strike gave Brazil a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Colombia on Thursday to book their place at Qatar 2022.

The five-time world champions join the hosts and Europeans Germany and Denmark as early qualifiers for next year’s finals. The have produced a near perfect qualifying campaign, winning 11 of 12 matches – their only blemish a goalless draw in Colombia last month – to qualify with six games to spare.

“This is the fruit of the work we’ve been building for some time,” said the match-winner. “Now I have to keep working hard to find my space” in the World Cup squad, he added.

Brazil were made to graft as Colombia had the better of the first half, but an attacking tactical switch from coach Tite at half-time paid dividends as the Selecao dominated after the break.

Colombia’s defeat saw them drop out of the four automatic qualifying positions in the single South American group as Chile overtook them after a third successive win, 1-0 away to Paraguay.

Wilmar Barrios had the first chance of the match, lashing a half volley narrowly over the bar as Colombia made a bright start. A typically muscular run into the box by Duvan Zapata saw him get off…

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