Lacklustre Brazil held by Venezuela

CAMPO GRANDE - Brazil failed to beat Venezuela in a competitive international for the first time on Wednesday when they were held 0-0 at home in their final World Cup qualifying match.

Brazil, who had qualified for South Africa with three matches to spare, twice hit the bar and played the last half hour with 10 men after defender Miranda was sent off for elbowing Giancarlo Maldonado.

It was the 19th competitive match between the two, Brazil having won all the others. However, Venezuela won 2-0 last year on the only occasion the two sides met in a friendly.

Dunga's team completed their 18-match campaign in the South American group with 34 points but could be pipped for top spot by Paraguay, who host Colombia later on Wednesday.

Brazil's best performances have been away from home where they have been able to capitalise on their devastating counter-attack, but they have found life more difficult at home when faced with teams who defend en masse.

Wednesday's match was their fourth home goalless draw of the campaign following stalemates against Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia.

Venezuela, who needed to win to have any chance of qualifying for their first World Cup, finished with 22 points from 18 games.

Midfielder Gilberto Silva hit the Venezuela crossbar with a header early in the second half after he outjumped the defence at a corner. Kaka was also foiled by the woodwork in stoppage time after a break down the left.