However, Brazil's performance, against the worst team in Group B, was lacklustre - and their camp was plunged into turmoil yesterday when Fifa, the world governing body, revealed that two players (one from each squad) had tested positive for cocaine after Bolivia's win over Brazil in La Paz on 25 July.
Miguel Rimba, a Bolivian defender, and Zetti, Brazil's reserve goalkeeper, both failed drug tests after the World Cup qualifier, which Bolivia won 2-0. Rimba claimed he merely drank tea made from coca leaves.
Brazil's win in Venezuela took them to second place, behind Bolivia, in Group B - the top two qualify for the finals. Even though the home side had a defender sent off for conceding the penalty from which Rai opened the scoring, the Brazilians played without flair.
Argentina began their Group A campaign with a 1-0 win in Peru, Gabriel Batistuta scoring a first-half winner. Three men were sent off: two from Peru plus Argentina's Gustavo Zapata.Reuse content