FRIDAY’S BIG HEADLINES
Brazil all but qualify for World Cup
The Warm-Up knows, and loves, its readers. It knows, for example, you are probably half-skimming over this through bleary eyes while trying not to miss your slice of toast with a big dollop of Sunpat. But here’s something which will wake you up faster than the latte you’re going to pick up on the way to the station from that Costa barista who always looks at you funny: PAULINHO SCORED A HAT-TRICK FOR BRAZIL LAST NIGHT. YES, THAT PAULINHO.
The man who somehow managed to make 67 appearances for Tottenham without being any good and without doing anything memorable filled his boots in the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay, destroying their 100% home record. Edinson Cavani had put the hosts ahead with a penalty, but Brazil enforced their superiority as Paulinho ran riot and Neymar scored this absolute peach.
For those keeping score, it’s eight wins from eight for Brazil under manager Tite and they now top the World Cup qualifying standings by a clear seven points, with 30 from 13 games. At this point it would take a miracle to stop them from reaching Russia - on a scale with Paulinho becoming brilliant.
PS: That’s 51 goals (and 31 assists) from Neymar in 76 caps. Lionel Messi had 27 at the same age and Cristiano Ronaldo had 22. Okay then.
Messi rescues Argentina
There was another huge game in the early hours of Friday morning with Argentina securing a vital win over Chile which prevents them from slipping further into danger of missing the World Cup finals. With his ankle in a “terrible state”, according to Arsene Wenger, Alexis Sanchez missed the ma… oh wait. It says here he actually played, and hit the bar. Is there nothing this man cannot do? (Apart from endear himself to his team-mates).
In a pretty low-quality engagement, the stage was set for Messi to rescue his team once more, beating Claudio Bravo from the penalty spot on 16 minutes (seriously, how hard can that be?) to secure a 1-0 win which puts Argentina third, but just two points clear of Chile, who are now down in sixth. Even if Chile don’t qualify though, Sanchez will find some way to turn up and play next summer.
Tottenham set task of finding 90,000 fans next season
Spurs moved a step closer to confirming the biggest Wembley residency since the X-Factor live shows last night when they were granted planning permission to have 90,000 fans at the matches they will host at the stadium (insert joke about not pursuing planning permission for a new trophy room here).
It is still unclear just when Spurs will move into the national stadium, but next season seems pretty likely now Brent Council have confirmed that Spurs have the potential to draw in the biggest crowds in European football (last season’s highest average crowd was 81,000 at Borussia Dortmund). With Vincent Janssen starring up front, it only seems right really.
IN OTHER NEWS
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: The Warm-Up: You won't believe who scored a hat-trick for Brazil! (It was Paulinho)