Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Chile during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 23, 2017. (AFP / EITAN ABRAMOVICH)
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Brazil thrashed Uruguay to move to the brink of the World Cup finals Thursday as Lionel Messi got Argentina's faltering qualification campaign back on track with the only goal to sink Chile.The Brazilians now lead the 10-team round-robin competition by seven points after their latest win.The top four teams in the standings qualify automatically and with only five rounds remaining, it would take a freakish set of results to deny Brazil.Uruguay had taken the lead after only nine minutes when Brazil goalkeeper Alisson brought down Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani for a penalty.Messi stroked home his penalty on 16 minutes after veteran Chile defender Jose Fuenzalida brought down Angel Di Maria with a clumsy challenge.The win leaves Argentina in third place overall in the 10-team qualifying competition with 22 points from 13 games.
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