Watch: Brazil routs Argentina in World Cup qualifier as Neymar scores 50th goal
Suffice it to say, this visit to the Estadio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte went much better for the Brazil men's national team.
Returning to the site of its 7-1 2014 World Cup humiliation at the hands of Germany, Brazil dealt a rout of its own to its fiercest rival, blowing out Argentina 3-0 in a World Cup qualifying result that puts Argentina in further peril regarding its hopes of competing at Russia 2018.
Billed as the battle of Barcelona superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar, it was the latter whose team enjoyed the night and improved to 5-0-0 in World Cup qualifying play under new manager Tite. Neymar sandwiched the 50th international goal of his career in between strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho, as Brazil continued its fine form.
Coutinho got the hosts off to a great start, with a spectacular right-footed piledriver from outside the area. The Liverpool star's effort gave Brazil the 1-0 lead 25 minutes in:
Neymar doubled the advantage just before halftime, making it 2-0 after a beautiful through ball from Gabriel Jesus and finishing on the break:
Paulinho made it 3-0 for Brazil in the 58th minute, digging an even deeper hole for Argentina:
Neymar turned on the flair in the 79th minute, nearly opening up Argentina for a fourth goal, but Sergio Romero did enough coming off his line to prevent another tally for the Seleção.
No matter, Brazil finished off the rout and maintained its one-point lead atop the CONMEBOL table over Uruguay–a 2-1 winner over Ecuador on Thursday–with 24 points from 11 matches.
Argentina remains in sixth place–outside of the automatic berth and qualifying playoff places–a point behind Chile and Ecuador and two points behind third-place Colombia. There's plenty of time for Messi & Co. to right the ship, beginning Tuesday in a vital clash at home against Colombia.