A show of what’s to come, and a throwback too. Brazil made it clear why they are favorites for the contest with an impressive win, but contained how Richarlison first introduced true magic world Cup Perhaps the moment from the Seleção in two decades.
His sensational goal, which was at once clever and fluid but also thunderous and sure, was the kind of play that built the country’s footballing reputation in the first place; One that sparks the imagination… that makes you want to watch them.
It was up there with Pele’s dummy, Josimer’s twirl and Ronaldo’s swivel. It was also a pivotal moment in both the 2–0 victory over Serbia and a brilliant individual performance from Richardson, as the Tottenham Hotspur striker scored both goals.
Given the problematic nature of this World Cup, it is worth noting that Qatar now has the advantage of being forever associated with a moment that will be repeated for years; Which would become part of World Cup lore.
In this case, it could well become a key part of Brazil’s rebirth and reclaim a trophy they have made their own.
This calculation has been done by Qatar hosting the tournament. This is the emotional blackmail of this World Cup and also the simple beauty of football.
No matter your feelings on this tournament, it’s impossible to watch and not have a spontaneous emotional reaction. It was great to see, very impressive.
First there was the touch on the pace as the duo placed the ball under their spell and set it up, and then there was an acrobatic leap to power it into the bottom corner with an uppercut.
Lusail Stadium roared its astonishment and approval. A performance like this shows why Brazil could be back here in four weeks’ time as they are meant to be.
The display wasn’t always so dazzling, and there were plenty of corruptions to go along with the art. It almost made it more plausible, though, as Brazil battled through a stubborn Serbia and were eventually given space to express themselves.
This was not what Spain did to Costa Rica, But it was almost as impressive in a different way. He had to use all his guile and – as Richardson illustrated – his imagination.
If it meant that you could never tell what a Brazilian attacker was going to do next, but you knew exactly what you were going to get from Serbia. That was granite-hard persistence.
They immediately went about establishing a defensive fort, which was held by the towers of Strahinja Pavlović, Miloš Veljković and Nikola Milenkovič. That was a lot of Serbia to cross, in and around.
Brazil went exclusively for long shots from the start, but it was not enough as they could not get close to the target. They apparently didn’t like goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, and neymar Almost got him caught with a vicious in-swinging corner.
The set-piece was one of the few moments Neymar had to stand with some space. Most of his matches were spent with three players constantly around him. And, when he finally broke free, it was Nemanja Gudelj to take him out completely with a formidable challenge.
The only fault with a defensive unit as strong as Serbia was that they weren’t quick enough on the turn. There were signs from the outset that Brazil could eventually overcome this with speed and ingenuity.
casemiro Thiago Silva put Vinicius through with a sublime through ball before doing the same for Richardson.
At a moment when Milinkovic-Savic felt brave enough to play the ball at Pavlovic’s feet, Rafinha was straight and too quick for him. The forwards should have scored or, in fact, should have squared it off.
Pavlovic redeemed himself minutes later with a spectacular long challenge to deny the same player. It was brilliantly defiant, but also showed how close Brazil was getting. Serbia was being pulled here and there. Alex Sandro broke down the post. The gap presented itself.
Vinicius burned one such hole through on a run to force a save from Milinkovic-Savic, leaving Richardson to leap forward and finish.
Brazil’s success. Serbia’s gameplan essentially fell apart. Tite’s team began to express itself. There were so many booms, so many thrilling moments. Casemiro hits the bar with a superb effort. They were trying something.
One question is whether they really looked more consistent when Neymar left, but that would be silly after a performance like this, and indeed unfair considering how Serbia had settled until then.
It really only showed Brazil’s immense strength and depth as Tite only brought in another fearsome front. He has a lot going for him, including hard work and that elusive element of Brazilian magic.
it’s been a while. So waiting for the World Cup.
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