Richarlison’s heroism saves Brazil from tough Serbia

LUSILE, Qatar — Two goals Richarlison led Brazil 2-0 to a hard-nosed Serbia SelesaoGroup G first match at the 2022 World Cup.

Brazilian manager Tita’s people took some time to get started and on the night when Neymar was defeated, Vinicius Jr. and Richarlison had to lead the side to victory.

Here’s ESPN’s Gabriele Marcotti with a reaction and analysis from Qatar.

JUMP ON: Player Ratings | Best/worst performers | Highlights and Notable Moments | Post match quotes | Key statistics | Upcoming matches

Fast reaction

1. After a bad first half, Brazil revives

Brazil took some time to get started against a well-organized Serbia, as evidenced by the first half, which recorded the lowest xG of the tournament. And although we must pay tribute to the opponent, in the first half, the Brazilian creative forces fell silent.

Rafinha flared up early, and then disappeared, Neymar could not find a place and rowed with Nikola Milenkovic as well as Nemanja Gudel, Lucas Paqueta could not find the measure of his death, and Richarlison was well organized by a trio of defenders.

But football is also a game of individual battles. Viniciusarguably the most consistent offensive flank threat that Vanya Milinkovic-Savic spilled onto Richarlison’s path for the rookie.

And, of course, Richarlison’s second goal was all genius and improvisation. You don’t plan things like that and Brazil coach Tite knows it.

Against Serbia it was enough and of course they hit the woodwork twice and could have scored more. But Brazil will need to improve their game from what we saw in the first half.

It’s good to have a pool of individual talents to call upon, but it’s even nicer to impose your collective will on the opposition.

2. Serbia’s smart plan almost worked

Serbian coach Dragan Stojkovic’s game plan worked halfway. He scored midfield, got Serbia into physical and tight action without defending too deep, and limited Brazil’s attacking threat to isolated runs that were usually quickly subdued.

The problem was that three of his most advanced players clearly lacked pace: Dusan Tadic, Alexander Mitrovic as well as Sergei Milinkovich-Savic. This meant that going on the counter-attacks would always be difficult – at best, Serbia could hope to have the ball in transition and keep the ball moving forward as a team.

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But on a night when none of the three got along, it became too easy for Brazil to defend it – and looking back, you wonder if there was a suitable, mobile Dusan Vlahovic might be the best option.

The only big man appearance in the past month was a 45-minute participation in a friendly match against Bahrain last week. Maybe Stojkovic made it easier for him to enter the tournament, knowing that he could be a more important player against the likes of Switzerland and Cameroon.

3. Brazil’s broad support puts a stamp on Qatar

Brazil may well be the most popular national team in this part of the world. The undulating bowl of Lusail was a yellow sea, and the metro ride from downtown Doha was canary yellow abounding.

Many of them were Brazilians who made the trip, but many were just locals who took Selesaowhether because of the popularity of Neymar, or because of the five world championships won, or because they have become favorites again.

Of course, the fact that Brazil is the favorite of the neutrals is nothing new. No country is more closely associated with the World Cup than Brazil. However, it seems, perhaps due to some tension between the European associations and the Qatari organizers, that Brazil as a team is liked more than any other.

Either way, it looks like Brazil will have home field advantage throughout this World Cup. Probably more than host Qatar, judging by how empty Al-Bayt Stadium was when they were two goals behind in the first leg.

Player Ratings

Brazil: Alisson 6, Danilo 7, Marquinhos 7, Thiago Silva 7, Alex Sandro 8, Casemiro 7, Lucas Paqueta 5, Rafinha 5, Neymar 6, Vinicius 8, Richarlison 7

Subscriptions: Fred 6, Martinelli 6, Anthony 6, Rodrigo 6, Gabriel Jesus 6

Serbia: V. Milinkovic-Savic 7, Milenkovic 6, Velkjovic 6, Pavlovic 7, Zivkovic 5, S. Milinkovic-Savic 5, Gudel 7, Lukic 7, Mladenovic 7, Tadic 5, Mitrovic 5

Subscriptions: Radonich 6, Ilic 6, Lazovic 6, Vlahovic 6, Maksimovic 6

Best and Worst Performers

BEST: Vinicius, Brazil

Yes, Richarlison scored two goals, one of them high-tech. But for stability throughout the match, I choose Vinicius, whose flank acceleration was a constant destabilizing force even in the first half, when the Brazilian attack almost completely stopped.

WORST: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Serbia

He should have held the ball and let Serbia rush forward, but Marquinhos and Thiago Silva kept him at bay, neutralizing both his fitness and his ability to find space. Maybe he’s out of shape, but if that’s his level, it makes sense to start with Vlahovic, who at least offers a threat running after the defenders.

Highlights and Notable Moments

The first half was something of a snooze fest: it wasn’t just scoreless, it featured the lowest xG or expected goals of any World Cup first half so far, meaning good chances to score were few and far between. from friend.

But Brazil perked up in the second half, finding a dangerous moment in the first minute after half-time, followed by Richarlison’s goal in the 62nd minute.

However, the only goal that everyone will be talking about is Richarlison’s second goal: a flying acrobatic side kick volley. Richarlison tossed the ball towards him – perhaps by mistake, with a bad first touch – and finished off beautifully.

After the match: what the players and managers said

Richarlison on his World Championship debut: “My childhood dream came true. We knew they would be hard to beat. I’m used to playing against such defensive teams in England. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.” what I had and I did.”

Basic statistics (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

  • The first half ended with Brazil earning xG, or expected goals of 0.21, while Serbia only scored 0.04. It was the lowest xG in the first half at this World Cup.

  • Richarlison became the fourth player to score the first two goals in the same World Cup for Brazil, joining Careca (1990), Neymar (2014) and Philippe Coutinho (2018).

  • Neymar took on nine of the 12 fouls that the Brazilian team suffered. Neymar’s nine fouls were the same as any other player from both teams combined – Serbia had six in total.


Brazil: Group G will resume on Monday, November 28 when Brazil play Switzerland at 11:00 am ET. Brazil will then play Cameroon on Friday, December 2 at 14:00 ET.

Serbia: Group G will resume on Monday 28 November with Serbia playing Cameroon at 5am ET. Serbia will then play Switzerland on Friday, December 2 at 14:00 ET.

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