Liverpool star Roberto Firmino scores twice with Philippe Coutinho also on target as Brazil start World Cup 2022 qualifiers with five-star display against Bolivia in Sao Paulo
- Brazil extended their unbeaten record in home qualifiers to 55 matches
- They smashed five goals past Bolivia to begin their road to the 2022 World Cup
- Firmino scored twice either side of half-time after Marquinhos’ opener
- Jose Carrasco’s own goal made it 4-0 before Coutinho rounded off the rout
- Brazil travel to Lima to face Peru on Tuesday while Bolivia host Argentina
Roberto Firmino scored twice and Marquinhos and Philippe Coutinho also found the net as Brazil hammered Bolivia 5-0 in their opening World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo on Friday.
Brazil had never lost a World Cup qualifier at home, a run that stood at 54 matches going into Friday’s game, and they never looked in danger of losing that record.
Marquinhos put the home side 1-0 up with a header after 16 minutes before Firmino scored after 18 and 49 minutes, both times by getting on the end of low crosses into the penalty box.
Roberto Firmino scored twice as Brazil thrashed Bolivia 5-0 in Friday’s World Cup qualifier
It was an easy night for Brazil in Sao Paulo as they began qualification for the 2022 World Cup
Firmino (No 20) celebrates scoring one of his two goals with team-mates on Friday night
Brazil were rampant down the flanks and the Bolivian defence had little answer to the crosses of Renan Lodi and Everton and the dangerous midfield promptings of Neymar, who was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet.
The fourth came after 66 minutes, when a glancing touch from Rodrygo deflected off defender Jose Maria Carrasco’s shoulder and Coutinho completed the rout with a header seven minutes later.
Bolivia, who last qualified for the World Cup finals in 1994, started with an inexperienced side under a torrential rain at Corinthians’ Neo Quimica Arena and had just one shot on target compared to Brazil’s 10.
Neymar (centre) celebrates one of Brazil’s goals with Douglas Luiz (left)and Thiago Silva
Philippe Coutinho (left) is congratulated on his goal by team-mate Roberto Firmino
Brazil netted five times but could have scored more as they dominated their opening qualifier
The top four teams in the 10-team South American group qualify directly for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional play-off.
Brazil now travel to Lima to face Peru on Tuesday, while Bolivia are at home the same day to Argentina, who opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday.
Brazil captain Casemiro put the impressive performance down to his team’s single-minded approach to the game.
‘Without a doubt, we have to highlight the fact that we took this seriously,’ the Real Madrid man said.
Coutinho wheels away in celebrations after scoring Brazil’s fifth goal at the Neo Quimica Arena
The Qatar 2022 qualifier was played out in front of empty stands amid the Covid-19 pandemic
‘At no time did we try any funny stuff, we were always respectful. That’s football, if you have the opportunity, then try and score more. We took this game 100 per cent seriously.
‘I think there’s always room for improvement, what’s important is getting used to playing together.
‘We’ll adapt better as we play more games. That’s what is important. We deserve congratulations today. We were always looking for goals.’
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