Brazil eliminated Serbia 2-0 in their World Cup opener on Thursday as Richarlison’s second-half goals, including a spectacular overhead kick, sent the five-time champions top of Group G.
2022 FIFA World Cup © FMM graphics studio
The Tottenham Hotspur forward has been in fine form wearing the golden yellow kit of Brazil this year and he opened the scoring with a simple tap-in before doubling the lead with his acrobatic effort.
Tite’s decision to go with four forwards – Neymar, Vinicius Jr., Raphinha and Richarlison – in his attacking line-up paid off as the South Americans dominated the match and made Serbia work hard every time they went forward.
Vinicius used his acceleration to good effect to constantly beat his man while Neymar, playing in a free role, often found pockets of space, but a well-drilled Serbian defense kept Brazil at bay in the first half.
Serbia had been sweating over the fitness of their top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic but coach Dragan Stojkovic named him in the starting line-up.
Unlike Brazil’s forward line, however, which threatened from all sides, the Fulham striker found himself isolated up front with little service.
The second half was one-way traffic as Brazil switched gears, Richarlison and Neymar squandered golden chances inside the box and Alex Sandro and Casemiro sent long-range efforts against the woodwork.
The breakthrough came just after the hour from brilliant work by Neymar to find Vinicius, whose first-time shot was saved by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but Richarlison was in the right place to tap in the rebound for his first World Cup goal.
Serbia had played conservatively up to that point and had no choice but to pour forward, giving Brazil more space and the second goal from Richarlison came with the biggest roar of the night from the Brazilian contingent.
As Richarlison tried to control a cross from Vinicius, the ball appeared over his head and he leapt into the air to complete a bicycle kick to seal Brazil’s win.
Switzerland are second in the group after beating Cameroon 1-0 and Serbia are bottom.