Neymar reacts after Javier Mascherano fouled him with mistimed tackle

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Because many of the current Argentina and Brazil players know each other so well, Thursday night’s World Cup qualifier between the two great South American rivals wasn’t particularly feisty.

In the past it’s been a completely different story, but on this occasion only five players received yellow cards.

One of those perhaps a little fortunate to avoid a booking was Javier Mascherano. The tenacious Argentine midfielder went in late on his Barcelona teammate Neymar during the second half of the match but was let off the hook by Chilean referee Julio Bascunan.

Mascherano fled the scene before being called by Neymar, who had a message for his mate.

The forward rose to his feet, shouted towards Mascherano in order to get his attention, before telling the Argentine to calm down. (Scroll down this page to watch the video of the incident).

Video: Neymar tells Mascherano to calm down

Seconds later and Neymar was clattered again, this time by substitutes Angel Correa and Sergio Aguero.

Neymar’s minor spat with Mascherano, Luis Enrique will be relieved to hear, did not continue.

Neymar had the last laugh

It was Neymar, however, who ended up having the last laugh as Brazil secured an emphatic 3-0 victory over Lionel Messi and co.

Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring with a screamer from outside the box midway through the first half while Neymar doubled the hosts’ advantage in Belo Horizonte on the stroke of half-time.

Paulinho then added gloss to the scoreline by netting a third goal for the Selecao on the hour-mark.

Brazil are cruising; Argentina are struggling

Brazil, now under the management of the impressive Tite, moved a significant step closer to securing their place at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Argentina, meanwhile, are in trouble. Big trouble.

Having secured a disappointing 16 points from their first 11 matches, the two-time world champions currently sit sixth in the CONMEBOL qualifying table.

Only the top four qualify automatically while the fifth-place side - currently Chile - go into the inter-confederation play-offs.

Argentina face Colombia next week and know they can ill-afford not to win.

Will Argentina qualify for the next World Cup? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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