Brazil’s 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign began
in sensational fashion as the South American giants breezed past Serbia with a
2-0 victory at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. Serbia’s stubborn defence proved a
hard nut to crack for Brazil throughout the opening period, but two goals from
Richarlison after the break, including a stunning second strike, gifted the
Selecao the victory to send them to the top of Group G.
Brazil entered this World Cup as the
number-one ranked team in the FIFA standings and dominated the proceedings from
the outset. Serbian goalkeeper Milinkovic-Savic was heavily involved in the
action as he rushed out of his line to clear a Thiago Silva through pass before
denying Raphinha’s effort at the half-hour mark.
It was a credit to the Serbian defence that
the score remained 0-0 at the break, but Brazil’s attacking force could not be
denied for too long.
Alex Sandro thundered the post with a
strike from distance in the second half before Brazil finally unlocked the
Serbian defence at the hour mark. Richarlison pounced on the rebound following
Milinkovic-Savic’s save from Vinicius Jr’s curled shot and bundled home from
close range to open the scoring on his World Cup debut. The Tottenham forward
doubled his tally 11 minutes later with one of the contenders for the goal of
the tournament. The 25-year-old neatly controlled Vinicius Jr’s cross before
launching an extraordinary acrobatic strike from the edge of the area into the
The South American side could have had a
third in the second half, but Casemiro’s effort struck the bar, while
Milinkovic-Savic was equal to Rodrygo and Fred’s shots from the edge of the
area., keeping the score at 2-0.
The only blemish on an otherwise perfect
evening for Brazil was an injury for their talisman Neymar. The PSG forward was
repeatedly fouled by the Serbian defence throughout the encounter and was
eventually substituted in the 80th minute due to an injury to his right ankle.
Neymar was pictured in tears on the Brazil bench following his substitution, and
the Selecao faithful will have to wait for 24-48 hours on a medical update on
the extent of the injury.
Brazil face Switzerland in their next group
encounter on Monday in Doha – who also beat Cameroon in their first game – and
another victory against the Swiss will cement their position on top of their
table ahead of the knockout rounds.