Brazil are one of the only countries in the world to have made an appearance at every World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1930, and following Thursday night’s victory over Uruguay they remain on course to appear in Russia next summer.
The Selecao put a strong Uruguay side to the sword by a scoreline of 4-1, highlighting how deadly they can be when they really turn the style on.
The night, essentially, belonged to former Tottenham midfielder Paulinho, who bagged himself a hat trick in what was a stunning all round performance, but Brazil’s third goal of the night was a thing of real beauty.
Neymar is undoubtedly the star of this Brazil side now, and he carried on his fine domestic form by producing a moment of sheer class that will certainly show his doubters that he is every bit as capable of following in the giant footsteps that came before him.
Uruguay took an early lead thanks to a ninth minute penalty courtesy of Edinson Cavani, but Brazil pulled ahead with Paulinho finding the net twice to pull Brazil ahead.
He hit his final goal in the dying moments, but with just under 15 minutes to go, Neymar made the outcome certain with a delightful lob.
Racing towards goal, the Barcelona man managed to put one chasing defender on his backside, before sending the ball sailing over the head of experienced goalkeeper Martin Silva from just inside the box.
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It became the 25-year-old’s 51st goal in 76 appearances, which is phenomenal form at international level.
He is now fourth on the list of all time goal scorers for the national team, and is just four strikes behind Romario.
With Pele leading the way on 77, it’s almost certain that he will surpass the legend in the coming years and set a new record himself.
However, having watched his country collapse without him at the 2014 World Cup on home soil, he will be desperate to be able to lift the biggest trophy in the game, though he will likely need a little help next time.
Three years ago he virtually did it all himself, and it’s not unfair to assume that the 7-1 scoreline they suffered at the hands of Germany wouldn’t have been so bad had he not been injured.