Nunez strikes as Uruguay upset Brazil in 2026 qualifiers

The Inter Miami star took his international goal tally to 106 with strikes in the 32nd and 42nd minutes at Lima's Estadio Nacional.

Messi's first-half brace left reigning world champions Argentina on top of the South American qualifying table with 12 points from four games, five points clear of Uruguay, Brazil and Venezuela, who all have seven points.

Restored to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in last Thursday's 1-0 win over Paraguay, Messi showed no sign of the injuries that have recently limited his appearances in Major League Soccer.

The 36-year-old crashed home an emphatic opener just after the half-hour mark, then added a second 10 minutes later after good work by Enzo Fernandez down the left flank.

The win leaves Argentina firmly on track to return to the World Cup finals in 2026, which are being expanded to include 48 teams and will be co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The top six teams in South America's 10-team qualifying competition will be guaranteed a place at the finals.

While Argentina continued their serene progress through qualifying, arch-rivals Brazil suffered a nightmare 2-0 defeat in Montevideo, crashing to a first loss against Uruguay in 22 years.

The defeat was compounded by the sight of veteran forward Neymar being stretchered off just before half-time with what appeared to be a knee injury.

Uruguay's Darwin Nunez struck with a bullet header on 42 minutes to open the scoring in a dour first half at the Estadio Centenario.

The Liverpool striker then played a pivotal role in Uruguay's second, holding up the ball well from a throw-in and cutting back for Nicolas de la Cruz to fire past Brazil goalkeeper Ederson on 77 minutes, sealing a 2-0 victory.


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