Brazil World Cup qualifying: Results, fixtures, what they need to qualify for 2026 finals and avoid elimination

Brazil’s World Cup qualifying woes took a historic turn for the worse on Tuesday when they lost 1-0 to arch rivals Argentina at the Maracana.

Nicolas Otamendi’s second-half header sealed a repeat of the 1-0 scoreline from the 2021 Copa America final at the same venue, but the game also incredibly marked the first time Brazil have ever lost a home World Cup qualifier.

It should come as little surprise, therefore, that the Selecao boast an ever-present record at the World Cup going back to the inaugural edition in 1930.

But the Argentina defeat was their third in a row after 2-1 reverses on the road in Colombia and Uruguay, while a 1-1 draw at home to Venezuela in October means interim boss Fernando Diniz is now winless in four matches.

So, is Brazil’s bid to reach the 2026 World Cup in trouble? And what do they need to do to turn it around?

MORE: How Brazil 0-1 Argentina played out

Brazil World Cup qualifying: Fixtures and results

Matchday 1

Date Match Result
Sep. 8, 2023 Brazil vs. Bolivia 5-1 W
Sep. 12, 2023 Peru vs. Brazil 0-1 W
Oct. 12, 2023 Brazil vs. Venezuela 1-1
Oct. 17, 2023 Uruguay vs. Brazil 2-0 L
Nov. 16, 2023 Colombia vs. Brazil 2-1 L
Nov. 21, 2023 Brazil vs. Argentina 0-1 L
TBD (Sep. 2024) Brazil vs. Ecuador
TBD (Sep. 2024) Paraguay vs. Brazil
TBD (Oct. 2024) Chile vs. Brazil
TBD (Oct. 2024) Brazil vs. Peru
TBD (Nov. 2024) Venezuela vs. Brazil
TBD (Nov. 2024) Brazil vs. Uruguay
TBD (Mar. 2025) Brazil vs. Colombia
TBD (Mar. 2025) Argentina vs. Brazil
TBD (Jun. 2025) Ecuador vs. Brazil
TBD (Jun. 2025) Brazil vs. Paraguay
TBD (Sep. 2025) Brazil vs. Chile
TBD (Sep. 2025) Bolivia vs. Brazil

CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table

*Updated as of November 22, 2023.

Rank Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1. Argentina 6 5 0 1 8 2 +6 15
2. Uruguay 6 4 1 1 13 5 +8 13
3. Colombia 6 3 3 0 6 3 +3 12
4. Venezuela 6 2 3 1 6 3 +3 9
5. Ecuador* 6 3 2 1 5 3 +2 8
6. Brazil 6 2 1 3 8 7 +1 7
7. Paraguay 6 1 2 3 1 3 -2 5
8. Chile 6 1 2 3 3 7 -4 5
9. Bolivia 6 1 0 5 4 14 -10 3
10. Peru 6 0 2 4 1 8 -7 2

*Ecuador were deducted 3 points by FIFA decree after fielding an ineligible player in a previous qualification cycle.

What do Brazil need to do to qualify for the 2026 World Cup?

The tables above outline the main factor working in Brazil’s favour. CONMEBOL qualification is a marathon, not a sprint.

Three consecutive defeats at any stage of this gruelling slog are not ideal but, with two thirds of the campaign to go, there is plenty of time to turn things around.

By the time qualification concludes, Brazil will have a permanent successor to Diniz firmly established in the dugout, Neymar back in action from his serious knee injury and see a few new stars emerge.

If all goes to plan, the October/November slump of 2023 will begin to feel like ancient history. Also, an escape route will remain even if they wear the ignominy of a couple more setbacks before the end of this season.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first edition expanded to 48 finalists. From a CONMEBOL perspective, that means six automatic qualifiers, up from four, and the seventh-placed team entering into an intercontinental playoff.

Brazil have never needed a playoff to reach the World Cup before and it would be something of an embarrassment for them to have to navigate that route. But even if they do so shamefully, the Selecao should emerge to fly the flag at the 2026 World Cup.

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