Brazil didn’t have to do anything special to beat Argentina on Thursday night.
They were a class above the Albiceleste, winning 3-0 to leave Lionel Messi and co. facing a battle to secure their place at the 2018 World Cup.
Philippe Coutinho, Neymar and Paulinho were on the scoresheet as Tite’s team pretty much booked a spot in Russia.
It would take a major collapse for Brazil to miss out on any of the four automatic qualifying spots. They lead the South American qualifying table on 24 points, seven more than fifth-placed Chile with seven games remaining.
Argentina, meanwhile, haven’t won in four matches. Messi’s return to international football has failed to provide a spark and Tuesday’s contest at home to Colombia is pivotal.
Even Messi realises that Argentina can ill afford to drop many more points.
"We have to think about Colombia now and not repeat the mistakes we have been doing,” he told TyC Sports, per Goal. “Within all of the bad, the good thing is that we depend on ourselves, but we cannot give away more points."
Brazil thought of everything to stop Messi
The Barcelona star was helpless to prevent Argentina from losing their second game in a row. Brazil thought of everything, from having Paulinho follow his every move to getting Marcelo to crouch behind the wall when Messi lined up a free-kick to stop him from going underneath.
It clearly worked. Messi attempted to go the traditional route and his strike hit the ball.
Watch some of the best under the wall free-kicks
Marcelo clearly remembered Messi’s effort against Uruguay a few years back. In a similar spot to the one on Thursday, he fooled the goalkeeper by hitting the ball under the wall and into the corner.
While we’re on the subject, check out some of the best under the wall free-kicks, including efforts from Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrea Pirlo and Ronaldinho.