Willian brace inspires Brazil to victory in World Cup qualifying

MONTEVIDEO: Brazil kick-started their South American World Cup qualifying campaign with a 3-1 victory over Venezuela on Tuesday as Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay posted their second wins and Argentina gained their first point.


Willian scored twice in the 37th second and again in the 42nd minute as Brazil rebounded from a humbling loss to Chile last Thursday as qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia got under way.

While Brazil were celebrating their first three points of the young campaign, Copa America champions Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay all notched their second victories to stand tied on six points apiece.

Chile defeated 10-man Peru 4-3 in Lima, Ecuador followed up their shock win over Argentina last week with a 2-0 victory over Bolivia and Uruguay downed Colombia 3-0 in Montevideo.

Argentina, still struggling to shake off the disappointment of losing the Copa America final in July, were held to a scoreless draw by Paraguay in Asuncion.

Qatar and Thailand took huge steps towards the next round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers after notching up resounding victories on Tuesday.

Qatar thrashed Maldives 4-0 in Doha to record their fifth straight win in the qualifiers to enjoy a five-point cushion ahead of Hong Kong in Group C.

In Hanoi, Thailand trounced South-East Asian rivals Vietnam 3-0 in front of 35,000 spectators in Goup F.

In Group B, Jordan consolidated their position at the top with a 3-0 rout of Tajikistan.

War-torn Syria also boosted their chances of qualifying with a 5-2 win over Afghanistan in Muscat while North Korea registered a 1-0 home win over Yemen.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong moved up to 10 points in Group C, two points behind leaders Qatar, after edging a gallant Bhutan 1-0 in Thimphu and Cambodia lost 2-1 to Singapore.

Meanwhile, Malaysia and Myanmar registered wins 1-0 and 3-1 wins against Timor Leste and Laos respectively.