Brazil 2 Serbia 0 – WC LIVE RESULTS: Richarlison with both goals as incredible acrobatic volley seals victory
Inside the ground – full-time analysis
Sun reporter Phil Thomas gives his thoughts on the game:
HAPPILY, Brazil have worked on ten choreographed dance routines to celebrate their World Cup goals.
Well, if Richarlison keeps it up, they’ll have to practice a few more before the end of the group stage, never mind the knockout games.
The man who won’t get a start at Spurs showed exactly why it is he, not Neymar, who is Brazil’s golden boy for so many with a double in the opening game.
When you think of Neymar, Vinicious junior – remember him, Liverpool fans? – and Raphinha could have finished with at least a couple, you will get an indication of how the favorites were genuinely in a league of their own.
If the Jolly Green Giant, AKA Serbia’s colossal goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, hadn’t been in the form of his life, they would probably have reached double figures already.
As it is, that brace from Richarlison will do very well for starters. The celebration may have been a long way from a ten from Len, but they’ll be patting them before long, trust me.
For any Premier League fan, Neymar is of course the heart of this most famous soccer nation’s team. However, the reality is quite different.
It is Richarlison’s attitude, Richarlison’s influence and – most of all – Richarlison’s finishing that make HIM the focal point of things.
And it’s the latest point that showed his dream of beating Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane’s Golden Boot-winning six from Russia 2018 could soon become a reality.
What a contrast, by the way, to the two opening games for the two Spurs friends.
Kane, for all England hit sixes in thrashing Iran, drew a blank and ended up needing a scan that scared the whole country.
Richarlison gave a masterclass in both old-school poaching and aerial finishing for the cameras with his Serbia-stopping pair too.
The first was cruel luck on the part of Vanja because it came after the keeper had produced another magnificent full-length block to deny Vini jnr.
But it was Richarlison, who pounced like a dog on a slice of ham, to poke home the rebound and send this Lusail Stadium crowd into raptures.
They had waited long enough. There were probably more and more people wondering if they would actually get to celebrate a goal from their heroes at all, so stubborn was the Serbian defiance.
But you know what they say about London buses and all that? Of course the same goal for Brazilian goals.
Because before we knew it, the Samba stars had doubled their advantage, the points signed and sealed, if not yet delivered, when the same man struck again.
And if his first was anything but the finest example of the beautiful game from the archetypal purveyors of it, the second certainly was.
Again Vini jnr was the provider, with a burst of pace down the left flank that has become his trademark just one game into Brazil’s competition.
Pushing the ball into the penalty area, RIcharlison’s first touch sent it spinning into the air – and his second was a magnificent volley that went into the corner,
Nothing that Vanja, even at full length, could do about it. And to be honest, there had to be something special or some sting to get the better of him here.
Admittedly, the fist he threw up to prevent Neymar’s vicious corner from curling in was routine. Certainly compared to the last of his heroics.
A chance, by the way, that was quite deliberately given half the Brazil team appeared to be practicing it at the training base in Al Arabi the other day,
But there was no standard with the lightning from his line to claw another from the feet of Vinicius after the most delicious of line deliveries from Thiago Silva.
Mind you, had Raphinha’s finish been anything like the approach work of his teammates, this game could have been done and dusted before half-time.
The most glaring of the ex-Leeds man’s misses was a tame half-volleyed side-footer that was nothing like the one-two with Richarlison that created it.
And the longer it went on, the more you began to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the five-time champions were going to pull a blank – as cruel as it would have been on them.
It was definitely starting to look that way when Alex Sandros finally got one past Vanja only to see his effort bounce back off the woodwork,
Roberto Carlos is clearly not the only defender to pull on the famous yellow shirt who can strike a ball from distance.
As it is, however, the dam eventually burst. Richarlison made sure of that. Awesome finish all the way around…but boy, those moves still need work.