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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Paulinho hat trick helps Brazil extend lead; Lionel Messi goal lifts Argentina

Paulinho admitted his surprise after scoring a hat-trick against Uruguay in their World Cup Qualifier in Montevideo.

A Paulinho hat trick helped Brazil to a 4-1 victory over Uruguay in a clash of the top two teams in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying on Thursday.

Uruguay were awarded a penalty on nine minutes when Alisson took down Edinson Cavani after the PSG striker had beaten the Brazil keeper to a chested back-pass from left-back Marcelo.

Cavani then stepped up and powered his shot low and to the right of Alisson to give the home side a 1-0 advantage.

Paulinho scored the first of his goals to put Brazil level...

 By Tim Vickery

The state of play in South America's World Cup qualifiers

Alejandro Moreno and Alexis Nunes predict which teams will prevail ahead of a juicy slate of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers.
Gab Marcotti explains why FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams has its benefits, but not everyone agrees.

There are no real prizes for coming first. Or second for that matter. World Cup qualification in South America is all about crossing the line and making it through to Russia.

The first four teams qualify automatically for next year's tournament, with the side finishing fifth having to play off against opponents from Oceania. And as the competition moves into the final third, only Brazil are really sitting pretty.

Those six consecutive wins under new coach Tite have carried Brazil to 27 points. In...

 By Tim Vickery

48-team World Cup could negatively affect South American qualifying

Gab Marcotti and Shaka Hislop join Outside the Lines and have their say at FIFA expanding the World Cup to 48 teams.
Gab Marcotti joins Outside the Lines to discuss the reasons behind moving the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
Shaka Hislop expresses his disapproval at FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams.

On the website of CONMEBOL, the South American Confederation, there is an article entitled: "From 13 teams in Uruguay 1930 to 48 in the 2026 World Cup."

It is a neat way of reminding everyone of one of the great trump cards of the South American game: its fabulous tradition. This is the continent where the World Cup began and which has won nine versions of the tournament, divided between Brazil (five wins) and Uruguay and Argentina (two apiece).

The big three has provided Barcelona with the "MSN"...

By ESPN Staff

Former Paraguay, New York Cosmos striker Roberto Cabanas dies at 55

Roberto Cabanas starred for the New York Cosmos in the 1980s

Former Paraguay striker Roberto Cabanas died on Monday in Asuncion. He was 55.

Valerio Cabanas, the brother of the deceased, said the cause of death was a heart attack.

Cabanas, a member of Paraguay's 1986 World Cup team, played for local club Cerro Porteno before becoming a regular with the New York Cosmos in the early 1980s.

He also played for French clubs Brest and Lyon, Colombia's America, and Argentina's Boca Juniors.

 By Tim Vickery

Echoes of Sebastian Abreu as Juan Manuel Iturbe makes his 10th move

Two late goals from Juventus sealed their come-from-behind victory over Torino.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti explains why Joe Hart won't move to Liverpool in January, and why he is skeptical of a future move.
Juan Manuel Iturbe
Torino is the eighth club that Juan Manuel Iturbe has played for in his short career.

Last week veteran Uruguayan centre-forward Sebastian Abreu was proudly presented at his latest club -- Bangu, a small but traditional outfit on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

The move to Brazil is the 28th of his career, which has taken him to a total of 23 clubs in nine countries. At the age of 40, this will surely be one of his last moves.

But even as Abreu trades El Salvador for Brazil, a player is emerging in Italy who could end up challenging Abreu's statistics. Paraguayan striker Juan Manuel...