- Brazil’s home winning streak in qualifying, which dates back to 2015, was ended
- Eduard Bello’s overhead kick gave Venezuela a surprise draw on Thursday
- Listen to the latest episode of the Mail Sport podcast “It’s starting!”
A stunning overhead kick from Eduard Bello helped Venezuela to a 1-1 draw against Brazil and gave Argentina an early lead in South America qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.
After Argentina beat Paraguay 1-0 to make it three wins out of three, Brazil looked well on their way to breaking that record when Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhaes headed in Neymar’s corner in the 50th minute first international goal.
But after Brazil missed several chances and Vinicius Junior had a goal disallowed for offside, Bello converted a cross from Jefferson Savarino with an acrobatic finish to equalize in the 85th minute.
This ended Brazil’s home winning streak in World Cup qualifying, which stretched back 15 games to 2015. It was also the first time that Brazil failed to beat Venezuela at home.
Brazil’s next qualifier is a difficult trip to Uruguay on Tuesday next week.
Gabriel Magalhaes (left) celebrates his first international goal for Brazil against Venezuela
The Arsenal defender headed the ball into the goal after a corner from Neymar in the World Cup qualifier
Eduard Bello’s overhead kick gave Venezuela an unexpected draw late in the competition
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“Now we have to hold our heads up and think about Uruguay.” “We wanted to go against them, they wanted to defend and we couldn’t break them down the way we wanted,” Brazil captain Casemiro said after the game.
They had already recorded victories over Peru and Bolivia in the marathon qualification for the 2026 tournament, which is being held jointly by the USA, Canada and Mexico.
The top six nations in the 10-team group will automatically qualify after the World Cup expands to 48 teams, while the seventh-placed team advances to an inter-confederation play-off.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi came on as a substitute as Argentina beat Paraguay thanks to an early goal from Nicolas Otamendi.
The only goal of the game at the Monumental de Nunez Stadium came in the third minute from a corner that saw Otamendi land free of the marker in the penalty area. The defender hammered the ball into the net with a left-footed volley.
The 36-year-old Messi felt muscle pain in his right leg, which caused him to miss several games with his club Inter Miami.
Coach Lionel Scaloni chose Nico Gonzalez as his replacement. The star replaced Julian Alvarez in the 52nd minute.
Lionel Messi came off the bench to help Argentina beat Paraguay 1-0 in qualifying
Messi hit the post from a corner kick 10 minutes after entering the pitch at the Monumental de Nuñez Stadium in Buenos Aires, but his other attempts to dribble and play deep passes failed.
A free kick from the same spot where he scored the winner against Ecuador in September gave Argentine fans hope just before the final whistle, but Messi’s shot hit the right post.
“I get very calm when we have Leo on the pitch,” said midfielder Rodrigo De Paul after the game. “We’re at a very good level.” “We’re comfortable with the way we’re playing.”
Paraguay’s new coach Daniel Garnero made his debut against Argentina and his team showed little attacking power. The 54-year-old coach took over from Guillermo Barros Schelotto last month after the first two qualifying games.
Nicolas Otamendi scored the decisive goal to win Argentina’s group in Buenos Aires
Messi missed four MLS games for his club as well as the US Open Cup final. He played 10 minutes in Inter Miami’s 1-0 loss to Cincinnati on Saturday.
He also missed Argentina’s 3-0 win over Bolivia in another World Cup qualifier in September.
Ecuador beat Bolivia 2-1 in La Paz, scoring in the final moments of the game.
Kendry Paéz scored for the guests shortly before half-time, and Rodrigo Ramallo equalized in the 83rd minute. Kevin Rodriguez gave Ecuador the first three points in qualifying.
Chile beat Peru 2-0. Diego Valdéz opened the scoring in the 74th minute and a Marcos López own goal finished the scoring in stoppage time.