Brazil’s Richarlison scores a highlight in the World Cup victory

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LUSAIL, Qatar — Just when you might be sitting there wondering if the idea of ​​Brazil exceeds reality, if the expectation of beautiful soccer often seems to vanish at the sight of a grind, the Brazilians can remind you that they are always capable to something that makes your eyes pop out of your head.

That’s what happened on Thursday night when the goal of this inaugural World Cup graced Lusail Stadium two days after the upheaval of the ages did the same. Where on Tuesday there had been Saudi Arabia over Argentina, now came the drama in 73 minutes in Brazil over Serbia. It cemented Brazil’s opening 2-0 win. It came from Richarlison, the 25-year-old who has been scoring a lot of goals recently. It made people gasp and maybe even shout involuntarily.

It produced a stadium noise that carried the unmistakable sound of wonder and lingered longer than most such sounds do. It sent Tite, the long-serving Brazil manager, into a lovable frenzy as he went up to group hug his staff, later saying: “Sometimes emotions can’t be explained.” And it gave the postgame the kind of lingering buzz you can’t get from the non-alcoholic beer they serve in these stadiums here.

“I think it was a beautiful finish,” Richarlison said of his bike spinning in the middle of the field. He mentioned previous and similar goals with the Fluminense club in Brazil and Everton in England, saying: “Today I had the opportunity to score an acrobatic goal that was very, very nice, I think one of the nicest in my career. It was a very tough game for us so I think it was one of the best goals I’ve ever scored.”

He has scored 88 in club play, 19 in international play and two of those 19 on Thursday night, so that’s a lot of goals to assess. “As our professor, Tite, says, ‘You smell goals,'” Richarlison said. “And that’s what happens.” It rewarded those who had traveled to the stadium expecting beauty as they filled the spotless new subway cars and shiny new subway stations with the old, reliable, electric yellow.

What they saw and probably assessed on the way home in Portuguese and a bunch of other languages ​​even managed to overshadow something that was hard to overshadow. Neymar, Brazil’s most recognizable figure, now 30 and Paris-based, suffered an ankle injury in the second half, played 11 more minutes before his manager realized it, won his manager’s praise for his pain tolerance and was the subject of a press conference appearance by ​​a team doctor, who said it is too early to say much.

“We are convinced that Neymar will continue to play,” Tite said. “He will continue to play in the World Cup.” If so, he could help guide Brazil’s bid for a first World Cup title in a gaping 20 years, as well as chase down the record for Brazil goals held by Pele at 77, with Neymar at 75. If not, well, there there other stars. with electric skills in electric yellow and both goals on Thursday went on merry trips through Vinicius Junior to Richarlison.

It happened after 62 minutes when Vinicius Junior, the 22-year-old wonder of energy and precision and Real Madrid ploy, put a ball that Neymar had lost track of on the left edge of the box and suddenly smashed it into the goal. , with goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic sprawling to save it, before Richarlison slotted it in easily.

That made it 1-0 and it wasn’t what people want in the memory banks.

The unforgettable one came 11 minutes later and it was once again dependent on Vinicius Junior’s creation. Operating from the left wing, of course, this time he slid a sight ball through a dense corridor of human obstacles. It found its way through to Richarlison in the middle of the box and then came the hoof.

Richarlison marked it with his left foot and crossed it in the air. Then he whirled around, spinning his body and riding it right-legged. It may not have even gone an inch above the left shoulder of Serbian defender Milos Velijkovic when Richarlison’s flying, fluttering boot nearly nudged Velijkovic’s head. It kept its screeching line and raced in just inside the left-hand post, with Milinkovic-Savic as helpless in his late stab as any of the 8 billion earthlings would have been. For the second time in a short period, the entire Brazilian team gathered in the corner for a raucous celebration.

“It goes up,” Tite said of the ball, “and he rearranges his whole plan,” and what great planners they are.

The star-studded of World Cup star teams, Brazil, finally made their debut at this 22nd Men’s World Cup, the 22nd time Brazil has qualified for it. It had become the last of the giants to start in this WC of the odd position on the calendar. Its fans from all over the world, plenty of times, had arrived with their chanting volume in the usual outpouring of can’t-wait. With a few Serbs in red and blue mixed in, they had emptied out towards the Lusail Stadium, the futuristic structure that at night looks a bit like an illuminated soap dish.

They saw Brazil, the tournament favorite by default, toss around some with a more than capable Serbia through a first half without many wows. “At half-time,” said Tite, the 61-year-old who has managed Brazil since 2016, “I had to tell my players to calm down because first we have to have a [lightness] that we had to pass the ball.”

He said: “We had to lower the adrenaline.”

They made adjustments in positioning and soon, assistant Cleber Xavier said, “We continued to expand the speed, expand the movements and create opportunities,” after which they created wonder.

Group G had left the starting gate with the Brazilians tied with the Swiss on three points and Richarlison declared “a wonderful night” with “a beautiful win” so “now we have another six games to reach our goal,” but first wanted to check on Neymar at the hotel. Serbia, who had won their group in qualifying, “were always under a lot of pressure” in the match, Tite said, “so it demanded a lot from us.” It all got off to a flying start towards Brazil’s bid to take its record five World Cup titles to six, a gasping reminder that Brazil’s reality can sometimes measure up to the idea.

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