Teammates celebrate with Richarlison of Brazil after he scored his second goal during the World Cup group G match between Brazil and Serbia, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar on November 24, 2022 | Photo Credit: AP
Brazil beat Serbia 2-0 in their World Cup opener on Thursday as Richarlison’s second-half goals, including a spectacular overhead kick, propelled the five-time champions to the top of Group G.
The Tottenham Hotspur forward has been in fine form when wearing Brazil’s golden yellow kit this year and he opened the scoring with an easy 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 lineup paid off big as the South Americans dominated the match and made Serbia suffer every time they went forward.
Vinicius used his acceleration to good effect to consistently beat his man while Neymar, playing in a free role, often found pockets of space, but a well-drilled Serbian defense kept Brazil in the first half.
Serbia are struggling with the fitness of their all-time top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic but coach Dragan Stojkovic has named him in the starting lineup.
Unlike Brazil’s forward line, however, which threatened from all sides, the Fulham striker found himself isolated up front with little service.
Richarlison of Brazil scores his team’s second goal against Serbia in the World Cup group G match between Brazil and Serbia, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar on November 24, 2022 | Photo Credit: AP
Brazil dominated the second half
The second half was one-way traffic as Brazil shifted gears, Richarlison and Neymar wasting excellent chances inside the box and Alex Sandro and Casemiro sending long-range efforts against the woodwork. .
The breakthrough came just after the hour from Neymar’s brilliant work to find Vinicius, whose initial shot was saved by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but Richarlison was in the right place to tap in the rebound for his first goal in the World Cup.
Serbia had been playing conservatively up to that point and had no choice but to pour forward, giving Brazil more space and a second goal from Richarlison brought the biggest roar of the night from the Brazilian contingent.
As Richarlison attempted to control a cross from Vinicius, the ball bounced off his head and he leapt into the air to head home a bicycle kick and seal the win for Brazil.
Switzerland are second in the group after they beat Cameroon 1-0 and Serbia are at the bottom.
Top scorers at the end of the first round of group matches
Two goals: Richarlison (Brazil) O. Giroud (France) B. Saka (England) M. Taremi (Iran) Ferran Torres (Spain) E. Valencia (Ecuador)
A goal: Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia) Saleh Al Shehri (Saudi Arabia) T. Asano (Japan) Marco Asensio (Spain) G. Bale (Wales) M. Batshuayi (Belgium) J. Bellingham (England) O. Bukari (Ghana) Rafael Leão (Portugal) R. Dōan (Japan) Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) B. Embolo (Switzerland) João Félix (Portugal) C. Gakpo (Netherlands) C. Goodwin (Australia) J. Grealish (England) İ. Gündoğan (Germany) D. Klaassen (Netherlands) K. Mbappé (France) L. Messi (Argentina) Álvaro Morata (Spain) Dani Olmo (Spain) Gavi (Spain) A. Rabiot (France) A. Ayew (Ghana) M. Rashford (England) Carlos Soler (Spain) R. Sterling (England) T. Weah (United States)