Richarlison scored twice including a goal of the tournament contender to help Brazil open their World Cup campaign with a win over Serbia at Lusail Stadium.
The game ended 2-0 largely due to Serbia’s goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic who kept Brazil’s famous attack at bay for the majority of the match. He denied Thiago Silva and Raphinha in the first half to keep the sides level heading into the break.
The 25-year-old then denied the winger again before keeping away Alex Sandro’s goalbound effort as Brazil went full-throttle in search of a goal.
Brazil was finally rewarded for its tenacity in the 62nd minute when Richarlison put away a rebound after Milinkovic-Savic had parried away Vinicius Junior’s effort. Just 11 minutes later the forward scored the goal of the tournament thus far to double his side’s lead.
After Vinicius’s cross popped in the air, Richarlison pivoted to his left and smashed a sideways volley past Milinkovic-Savic to put Brazil up 2-0.
The glee of the win was overshadowed by Neymar’s injury who was fouled repeatedly during the game. The PSG forward injured his ankle and was seen in tears on the bench after being substituted.
According to Brazil’s team doctors, the extent of the damage will not be known for another 24-48 hours.
On the pitch though, Serbia failed to threaten Brazil as the game ended sending them to the top of the Group G table of the World Cup.
Earlier in the day, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first men’s player to score in 5 different World Cups after scoring a penalty to help Portugal beat Ghana 3-2 in a tightly contested affair.
Three more games are on the schedule today with Wales facing Iran at 3:00 PM, Qatar taking on Senegal at 6:00 PM and the Netherlands going against Ecuador at 9:00 PM.