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A second-half brace from Richarlison, including a stunning overhead scissor kick, gave tournament favorites Brazil a 2-0 victory over Serbia in their opening World Cup match at Lusail Stadium on Thursday.
The record five-time winners had struggled at times in the first half but improved after the break and were rewarded when Tottenham Hotspur forward Richarlison scored the opener in the 62nd minute when Vinicius Junior’s strike was parried.
Vinicius then set up Richarlison to score again in the 73rd minute with a stunning acrobatic effort which is definitely the World Cup target so far.
The result confirms Brazil’s superb record in the group stage of the World Cup, with their last defeat coming to Norway in 1998, by which time they had already secured a place in the next round.
Tite’s side are already top of Group G ahead of Switzerland, who beat Cameroon 1-0 earlier and are Brazil’s next opponents.
The result here was the same as when these two sides met in the group stage in 2018, but Brazil are determined to do much better than they did four years ago when they lost to Belgium in the quarter-finals.
They arrived in Qatar as the favorites for a sixth title, two decades after their last victory.
More results in the opening round of matches in Qatar served as a cautionary tale, with their great rivals Argentina suffering a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia at the same stadium and Germany being shocked by Japan.
However, Brazil knew not to take Serbia lightly, as the 21st-placed team in the FIFA rankings are one of Europe’s most improved sides and overcame Portugal in their qualifying group.
Yet it still would have been a big shock for Brazil to lose at a ground where they intend to return for the final on 18 December.
Tite fielded a very attacking team, with Neymar supporting Richarlison while Raphinha and Vinicius filled the flanks and Lucas Paqueta added creativity to midfield.
Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, started with just two goals to equal Pele’s all-time record of 77 for Brazil, but he’ll have to wait a little longer to get them.
Serbia did their best to frustrate the Paris Saint-Germain superstar, who came close to scoring a direct goal from a corner that would have raised the roof at the magnificent Lusail Stadium, where the stands were filled with yellow-green.
Would you classify Neymar as The best of the rest…? Or would you put him next to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?
Brazil are one of the big favorites for tonight’s Group G battle! Here’s how Tite deploys the part of him:
beIN SPORTS reporter Nicky Crosby met some particularly enthusiastic Brazilians outside Lusail Stadium! It seems that Saudi Arabian fans ‘where is Messi?’ the question caught on!
Good evening and welcome to tonight’s live blog where Brazil will face Serbia at Lusail Stadium. Watch the game LIVE on beIN SPORTS MAX 3, or follow our live blog if you’re around!