There were more than four years of waiting, more than 2.1 million minutes, but they flew by compared to the tension of the first 62 minutes for Brazil in the World Cup in Qatar. Nervousness took over the country of football when Richarlison released the goal scream and paved the way for the victory over Serbia by 2 to 0, today (24), at the Lusail stadium.
The Brazilian team had control of the match from the beginning, but could not break through the Serbian block. Raphinha had the best chance of the first half, but hit weakly. Alex Sandro hit the post in the second half, but that was when Richarlison came into action.
BALL POSSESSION ANALYZES BRAZIL’S VICTORY
The number 9 of the Brazilian team took advantage of Neymar’s move, Vini Jr’s kick and goalkeeper Vanja’s hit to prove his full presence in the area and open the scoring. Afterwards, Vini Jr received from the left and served the Pombo, who saw the ball go up in the domain and had no doubts: it turned into a spectacular volley to expand and close the account for Brazil.
With the result, Brazil leads Group G for having a greater goal difference than Switzerland, who beat Cameroon by 1-0 earlier today. Tite’s team returns to the field on Monday (28) , at 1 pm (Brasília time), to face the Swiss.
Very hard first period
While Brazil confirmed the offensive lineup with only one defensive midfielder, Serbia went into the game with only one striker. Coach Tite prepared ways to break through the rival’s boom, but the first 46 minutes saw few opportunities created.
In the first few minutes, Serbia made their strategy clear: score, score, score and maybe set up some counterattack. At 5′, defender Pavlovic was shown a yellow card. Afterwards, Neymar was shirtless when he was grabbed by Lukic. The first scare for the Europeans only occurred in the 12th minute, when Neymar tried to score an Olympic goal and forced the goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic making the save.
With Vini Jr on the left and Raphinha helping a lot on the right, Brazil started the game better and gave Serbia a hard time. The team maintained possession of the ball almost all the time in the attacking field, but failed to take enough danger to get the “uh” from the crowd.
The best move of the first half was an almost Olympic goal by Neymar. Raphinha had a one-on-one chance, but finished weakly. Serbia managed to contain the Brazilian momentum after 20 minutes, but were clearly more concerned with not conceding goals than opening the scoring. Alisson barely touched the ball.
With Neymar very well marked (nine of Serbia’s 12 fouls were on him), it was up to Casemiro and Lucas Paquetá to help with the creation. Center forward Richarlison only touched the ball 12 times and was boxed in the marking.
World Cup 2022: pictures of Brazil vs Serbia
Brazil had 24 shots, ten of them on goal, and Serbia only managed to score once, without posing any danger to goalkeeper Alisson. The match was literally attack against defense.
Pigeon opens the gate
With less than a minute of play, Brazil almost opened the scoring. Raphinha stole the ball in the attacking field, came face to face with the goalkeeper and hit him. Neymar, on the side and alone, was desperate for not receiving the pass.
The Brazilian team continued to improve and hit the post, with Alex Sandro, in the 15th minute. At 18, the Serbs could no longer resist. Casemiro activated Neymar, who cut the markers and the ball was left for Vini Jr to finish. On goalkeeper Vanja’s rebound, Richarlison appeared to push. Pigeon was missing, but he was in the right place at the right time. 1 to 0.
Serbia made substitutions and sought a reaction, but opened up the spaces that Brazil needed. In the 27th minute, Vini Jr crossed, Richarlison didn’t dominate well and improvised: a beautiful volley in the goalkeeper’s corner. A great goal by Pombo that had already been rehearsed in one of the training sessions in Turin, Italy. It was the end of the “curse of 9”.
With the 2-0 on the scoreboard and the substitutions with more “quick legs” like Antony and Rodrygo in the second half, Brazil piled up chances: Casemiro, Fred, Rodrygo… Everyone could turn the victory into a rout, but the score ended with the 2 to 0, with the right to “olé” in the stadium with more than 88 thousand people.
Concern about the star
In the 34th minute of the game, Neymar felt a problem with his right ankle and had to be substituted. The number 10, as shown in the Globo broadcast images, cried on the bench while receiving ice on the spot.
Neymar left the field walking, but down. When he sat on the bench, he started crying and was attended to by the medical department.
Brazilian fans make more noise, with Serbs trying to react
After some games were marked by the atmosphere of a library in this Cup, the match between Brazil and Serbia had a very participatory crowd. With practically 70% of the stadium, the Brazilians made a lot more noise and received a lot of support from foreign fans. The Serbs tried to react and shouted the name of their country a lot and only managed to make more noise the few times their selection crossed the area.
Raphinha, king of submissions in training, misses consecutive chances
One of the characteristics that made Raphinha gain a lot of space in Brazil was the quality of his submissions. In addition to being quick and a dribbler, he impressed the coaching staff with his quality when it came to kicking. No wonder, even in a bad phase in Barcelona, he didn’t lose space in Amarelinha. Today, however, he missed the best Brazilian opportunities, with two of them going head-to-head with the opposing goalkeeper. Waste made Brazilians take their hands to their heads.
What’s new on the ball
Of four training sessions for the Brazilian team in Doha, three were closed. Tite and his coaching staff used the privacy to rehearse set-pieces that have already been used against Serbia. Even in the first half, in just 30 minutes, it was possible to observe news in two moments: a corner kick taken by Raphinha on the right and a free kick between Neymar and Raphinha on the left. On both occasions, Brazil tried short combination plays to open space in the defense of the Europeans instead of direct lifts in the area.
BRAZIL 2 x 0 SERBIA
Date: November 24, 2022
Place: Lusail Stadium in Doha (Qatar)
Time: 4pm (from Brasilia)
Referee: Alireza Faghani (Iran)
assistants: Mohammadreza Mansouri and Mohammadreza Abolfazli (Iran)
VAR: Abdulla Al-Marri (Qatar)
yellow cards: Pavlovic, Lukic and Gudelj (Serbia)
Goals: Richarlison (BRA), at 16 and 27 minutes of the 2nd half
BRAZIL: Alisson, Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Alex Sandro; Casemiro and Lucas Paquetá (Fred); Raphinha (Martinelli), Neymar (Antony), Vini Jr (Rodrygo) and Richarlison (Gabriel Jesus). Technician: Tite
SERBIA: Vanja Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, Veljkovic and Pavlovic; Zivkovic (Radonjic), Gudelj (Ilic), Lukic (Lazovic) and Mladenovic (Vlahovic); Tadic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic (Maksimovic). Technician: Dragan Stojkovic