The visitors arrived at the Allianz Parque sitting third in the standings, but results elsewhere also went against them as they dropped three places on the night to finish sixth.
Paulinho and Gabriel Jesus scored a quickfire double to put Brazil ahead in the second half, before the latter added a third in stoppage time to put the seal on a miserable night for the reigning Copa America champions.
Find out how all of the action unfolded courtesy of our minute-by-minute updates below.
There is still much to be decided tonight and, while Brazil have long since confirmed their place in Russia, just four points separate second from seventh so it promises to be a mad scramble for qualification tonight. I will keep you up to date with all the major goings on elsewhere - including a huge night for Lionel Messi and Argentina who are currently in sixth place - but our main focus will be on this one between Brazil and third-placed Chile.
Before I take you through just how tight things are in the qualifying table, let's first have a look at the team news...
Well, Brazil have had their place on the plane to Russia confirmed for longer than any other team aside from the hosts, but manager Tite has developed a reputation for refusing to take his foot off the gas and he proves that again by naming a strong starting XI for this evening's match.
The star of the show is, of course, Neymar, whose record at international level is quite remarkable. The world's most expensive footballer has scored 52 goals in just 80 appearances for his country, and Pele's all-time record of 77 draws ever closer for the in-form PSG forward.
Gabriel Jesus's fine form since his move to Manchester City has seen him become the first-choice striker for Brazil now, and tonight will be a particularly special occasion for his as he returns to the home of his former club Palmeiras. He played his final match for the club almost a year ago before completing his move to Manchester City, where he has only gone from strength to strength.
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho also starts tonight having been influential for the Reds since returning following a disrupted summer of transfer rumours.
It is an unchanged midfield and attack from the draw with Bolivia last time out - indeed there is just one outfield change throughout the entire team as Marquinhos replaces Thiago Silva at the heart of the defence.
The only other change in the side is a notable one between the sticks as Manchester City's Ederson is handed his debut for Brazil having made an impressive start to life at the Etihad Stadium. He replaces Alisson in goal.
This will be Bravo's 119th appearance for his country, extending his own record which he shares with Alexis Sanchez, who also starts tonight. More on him a little later, but for Bravo he will be hoping that any inside knowledge from sharing club commitments with Gabriel Jesus may come in handy tonight. Indeed, he could come up against four of his club mates, with Fernandinho and Danilo also in the Brazil squad alongside Jesus and Ederson.
No fewer than 10 players have more than 50 caps to their name, including the centurions of Bravo, Medel, Jara and Sanchez. Brazil, in contrast, have only three players with 50 or more caps, and only Dani Alves above 100. Chile have two more nearing that three-figure tally too, with Isla making his 99th international appearance tonight and Beausejour making his 98th.
Aranguiz is one of three changes made by Chile from the win over Ecuador last time out, with Beausejour and Fuenzalida also coming into the starting lineup as Vidal, Silva and Mena drop out.
Sanchez now has 39 goals for his country - more than any other Chilean in history - although his strike partner Eduardo Vargas is not far behind on 35. Vargas was also on the scoresheet against Ecuador, so both forwards come into this match having found the back of the net recently.
It is always one of the toughest to qualify from, with the most consistently tough games and competition for just four automatic places very fierce. This year has been something incredible even by South America's standards, though, with just four points separating second-placed uruguay from seventh-placed Paraguay. Each and every one of those teams could still qualify or fail to qualify tonight - including Chile, who currently sit third.
There are three more automatic qualification places up from grabs tonight, in addition to one playoff spot which would see the occupant take on New Zealand over two legs for a place in Russia. That is a match any of the teams involved would be confident of winning, but it is a place in the top four which they are all really after tonight.
2. Uruguay 28pts
3. Chile 26pts
4. Colombia 26pts
5. Peru 25pts
6. Argentina 25pts
7. Paraguay 24pts
...and the fixtures to look out for:
Paraguay vs. Venezuela
Ecuador vs. Argentina
Peru vs. Colombia
Uruguay vs. Bolivia
A draw could see them face a playoff is Peru and Argentina both win, and could even see them miss out altogether if Paraguay also win by enough goals. The goal difference between Chile and Paraguay is currently seven, so it would have to be an unlikely result for that to occur.
Defeat would see Chile eliminated if Colombia or Peru, Argentina and Paraguay all win too, whereas they would make the playoffs if only two of those other teams win. Should they lose by two or more goals, however, then they will be elimiated should Colombia and Peru draw, and Argentina avoid defeat.
It didn't look like that would be the case towards the start of qualifying, and they actually began their campaign with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of tonight's opponents in October 2015. That poor start continued with just two wins from their opening six matches, but Tite's arrival brought with it a significant upturn in form.
It is now seven months since Brazil booked their place on the plane, and their thoughts have long been drifted to banishing the horrid memories of the 2014 tournament on home soil, when they were humiliated by Germany in the semi-finals and comfortably beaten in the third-place playoff too - by a Netherlands side who have not even reached the subsequent two tournaments.
Overall, though, they have lost just one of their 13 matches under Tite since crashing out of the Copa America group stages last summer, with that defeat coming in a Melbourne friendly against Argentina in June.
At home Brazil are a different beast, and you have to go back to 1975 for their last qualifying defeat on home soil.
The scars from the 7-1 mauling at the hands of Germany will take a long time to heal, but there are signs of recovery, including a run of five consecutive home clean sheets for Brazil heading into this match. That includes four in a row during this qualifying campaign, where Brazil have picked up 22 points from a possible 24 at home.
Indeed, Chile's away record in general leaves a lot to be desired of late, with four defeats and a draw from their last five World Cup qualifiers on the road. Chile have picked up just one points from the last 15 on offer away from home in this campaign, having begun with two wins from their first three games.
Across all competitions Chile are now winless in their last eight away games, a run which stretches back to March 2016, when they beat Venezuela in March 2016.
Indeed, Friday's win is their only one inside 90 minutes from their last seven outings across all competitions, since the opening group game of the Confederations Cup this summer. Chile will only have the 90 minutes to get the win they need to guarantee qualification this evening.
La Roja have won the past two editions of the Copa America, in 2015 and 2016. On both occasions they beat Argentina on penalties following a goalless final, so to see both fighting so hard for a place at the World Cup is a surprise. Chile also reached the final of the Confederations Cup this summer, although this time there was final heartbreak as Germany ran out 1-0 winners.
Since beating Brazil 2-0 and Peru 4-3 on matchdays one and two respectively, Chile have won six, drawn two and lost seven of their outings, failing to build any momentum which has left them in this vulnerable position tonight.
Brazil don't need to win this one, whereas Chile may have to, but the hosts have named a very strong side tonight and have a formidable record against Chile on home soil. It should be an intriguing contest, but I am going to plump for a home win which would leave Chile in trouble.
SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Brazil 2-1 Chile
With the exception of major tournaments held in Brazil, Chile have never won a game here. In all of their qualifying visits down the years they have failed to win, and even in friendlies they have never beaten the five-time world champions on Brazilian soil.
La Roja will have to make history if they are to avoid relying on other results tonight.
Brazil, on the other hand, have picked up 50 wins in that time, with 13 draws. Tonight's hosts have lost just one of the last 15 clashes too, stretching back to 2000 and including 12 wins, although that defeat did come in the most recent meeting.
The last meeting on Brazilian soil, meanwhile, came in the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup when Brazil needed penalties to get past Chile after a 1-1 draw which, again, saw Sanchez on the scoresheet.
BRAZIL STARTING XI: Ederson; D. Alves, Marquinhos, Miranda, Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Paulinho, R. Augusto; Coutinho, Neymar, G. Jesus
CHILE STARTING XI: Bravo; Isla, Medel, Jara, Beausejour; Aránguiz, Valdivia, Tucu Hernández; Fuenzalida; Alexis Sanchez, Vargas
No surprise to see him quickly back to his feet and fine to continue, though.
Neither side have been able to really get into their stride yet, with numerous fouls disrupting the rhythm of things, but as things stand a draw would still be enough for Chile to qualify automatically.
Neymar was played in by Jesus but was denied by a good save from Bravo, before the Chilean keeper had a more routine save to deny his club mate Gabriel Jesus after the striker had been picked out in space inside the box.
HALF TIME SCORES:
Brazil 0-0 Chile
Ecuador 1-2 Argentina
Paraguay 0-0 Venezuela
Peru 0-0 Colombia
Uruguay 2-1 Bolivia
AS THINGS STAND:
2. Uruguay 31pts
3. Argentina 28pts
4. Chile 27pts
5. Colombia 27pts
6. Peru 26pts
7. Paraguay 25pts
The free kick is a long way out, but that doesn't dissuade Alves from going for goal. His dipping drive does move in the air, but it is still straight at Bravo and he should have done a lot better. Instead, he spills it right at the feet of Paulinho, who sweeps home the rebound.
Work to do for Chile now!
Jesus gets his name on the scoresheet here, but Neymar is the creator. Coutinho pings a beauty of a ball over the defence to spark another counter-attack, and Neymar brings it down perfectly. The PSG man could go for goal himself, but instead he chooses to lay the ball on a platter for Jesus to sweep a simple finish home.
Meanwhile, Brazil have a free kick which almost results in a third goal, but the referee blows for a foul.
Still, as things stand they will be in a playoff against New Zealand, which they would be expected to win. Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia are heading through as things stand, but there is still plenty of time for that to change.
As things stand, La Roja will finish sixth and miss out on World Cup qualification, but one goal - even in a 2-1 defeat - could still change that. Incredibly tense!
Only goal difference separates Chile in sixth from Peru in the playoff spots, but it is indeed Chile who miss out. A Paulinho goal and Gabriel Jesus barce proved costly for La Roja, while other results also went against them with a win for Argentina and a draw between Peru and Colombia.
Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole on a remarkable night of international football as Chile miss out on a place in the World Cup, despite starting the night third in the qualifying standings. I will leave you with our match report from Brazil's 3-0 win, but from me, it is goodbye for now!