Brazil’s Richarlison scored the main goal in the World Cup win

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LUSAIL, Qatar — Just when you can sit there and start to wonder if the image of Brazil exceeds the reality, when the expectation of beautiful soccer often seems to dissolve in the sight of the grind, the Brazilians can remind you that they are always capable of something that will make your eyes pop out of your head.

It happened on Thursday night when the goal of this nascent World Cup graced the Lusail Stadium two days after a similar confusion for the ages. Where on Tuesday was Saudi Arabia over Argentina, now came the spectacle of 73 minutes in Brazil over Serbia. It sealed Brazil’s opening 2-0 win. It came from Richarlison, a 25-year-old who has scored a lot of late. This made people gasp and maybe even scream involuntarily.

It made a stadium noise that carried the unmistakable sound of awe and lasted longer than most such sounds. That sent Tite, Brazil’s long-serving manager, into a cute frenzy as he went upstairs to give his staff a group hug, later saying: “Sometimes the feelings can’t be explained.” And that lent the postgame concourses a kind of lingering buzz that can’t be achieved from the non-alcoholic beer they tap here in these stadiums.

“I think it was a beautiful goal,” Richarlison said of his carousel in the middle of the box. Referring to previous and similar goals with Fluminense in Brazil and Everton in England, he said: “Today I had the opportunity to score an acrobatic goal which was very, very nice, I think one of the nicest in my career. It was a very difficult game for us, so I think it was one of the best goals I’ve ever scored.”

He 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 consider. “As our Professor Tite says, ‘You feel a goal,’ Richarlison said. ‘And it happens.’ electric yellow.

What they saw and surely evaluated 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 iconic figure, now 30 and based in Paris, went down with an ankle injury in the second half, played 11 more minutes before his manager realized it, earned praise from his manager for his pain tolerance and became the subject of an appearance at press conference by the team doctor, who said it was too early to reveal too much.

“We are confident 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 after a yawning 20 years, as well as follow the Brazilian goalscoring record held by Pele at 77 with Neymar at 75. If not, there are other stars. with electric skill in electric yellow and both of Thursday’s goals were headed for merry treks through Vinicius Junior to Richarlison.

It happened in the 62nd minute when Vinicius Junior, Real Madrid’s 22-year-old prodigy of energy and precision and employment, stunned a ball that Neymar had lost track of on the left edge of the box and suddenly slammed it into the goal. , where goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic stretched to save before Richarlison poked home easily.

That made it 1-0 and it wasn’t something people will carry in their memory banks.

The memorable one came 11 minutes later and again depended on Vinicius Junior’s creation. He was operating from the left wing, of course, and this time he slipped the ball with an observation eye through a narrow corridor of human obstacles. It found its way to Richarlison in the middle of the box and then came the hey.

Richarlison caught him with his left foot and ticked him in the air. Then he turned, twisted his body and rode the bike with his right foot. He burned maybe an inch over the left shoulder of Serbian defender Miloš Velijković when Richarlison’s flying, flailing boot nearly nudged Velijković in the head. He maintained his screeching line and raced in just wide of the left post, with Milinkovic-Savic as helpless as any of the 8 billion earthlings in his late trickery. For the second time in a short time, the entire Brazilian team gathered in a corner to celebrate.

“It goes up,” Tite said of the ball, “and he reschedules his whole schedule,” and what skillful planners they are.

The most star-studded of all-star World Cup teams, Brazil finally made their debut at this 22nd Men’s World Cup, the 22nd that Brazil has qualified for. She became the last of the great personalities to start this world championship with an odd position on the calendar. His fans from all over the world, in droves, arrived with the volume of their songs in their usual outpouring of anticipation. They mingled with a few Serbs in red and blue and emptied out towards Lusail Stadium, a futuristic structure that looks a bit like a lit up soap dish at night.

They saw Brazil, the default sort of tournament favourite, struggle with a more than capable Serbia in the first half without many surprises. “During the break,” said Tite, the 61-year-old who has been in charge of Brazil since 2016, “I needed to tell my players to calm down because first we need [lightness] that we needed to pass the ball.”

He said: “We needed to reduce the adrenaline.”

They improved their positioning and early on, Cleber assistant Xavier said, “We continued to spread the speed, spread the moves and create opportunities,” before creating a miracle.

Group G left the starting gate with the Brazilians drawing with the Swiss on three points and Richarlison declaring “a wonderful night” with a “beautiful victory” so “now we have six more games to reach our goal”, but first he checked on Neymar at the hotel. Serbia, who 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 was all a flying start to Brazil’s bid to take its record total of five World Cup titles to six, and a gasp-inducing reminder that Brazil’s reality sometimes lives up to the idea.

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