There is winning a World Cup match. And there is to win a World Cup game.
This victory of Brazil, a frank 2-0 against Serbia, marks the spirits. Because we were expecting this Seleção. Obviously, she too was eager to hit the field: her performance confirms her not only as the great favorite of the tournament, but also as the most conquering.
Despite everything, his supporters will hold their breath: Neymar suffered a sprained ankle in the second half and was taken off at the 80e minute. He was seen crying on the players’ bench as he received treatment. The superstar will undergo tests within the next 24 hours. Coach Tite, however, said he had “confidence” that Neymar “will play again in this World Cup”.
Otherwise, the Brazilians played with the Serbs like a bossa nova guitarist strums his strings. And it was Richarlison who made his most beautiful chords resonate.
No, but what a goal. Look no further: here is the tournament net. Let the video speak for us.
Control. The strike. The place, the time. For a football fan, whether Brazilian, Serbian, Korean or Ghanaian, this goal gives emotions.
“It was a very nice goal,” agreed Richarlison. I had already scored a similar one with Fluminense, and then with Everton, but this time it’s in the World Cup. »
For Brazil, whether it is played barefoot in a favela or on the biggest stage at the World Cup, soccer must be synonymous with “jogo bonito”. The beautiful game. Paradoxically, the five world titles of the Seleção were not always acquired thanks to exciting dribbles or daring passes. Her greatest successes, she had them by playing in a more pragmatic way.
Whatever. To make fans happy, the game must be festive, creative, dancing. It is often said that Brazil would rather play well and lose than play badly and win. But why not play well and win? This current team, made up of the biggest names on the planet in Neymar, Vinícius, Casemiro, Raphinha and all the others, seems built for this.
Because the defense was also solid. Thiago Silva, 38, continues to manage the ramparts with confidence. Just ahead of him in defensive midfield, Casemiro was one of the brightest stars in this Brazilian constellation on Thursday. His raises and his passes crossing the curtains of players were the source of the most beautiful offensive sequences of his team.
“It was a magical evening, a great victory,” said Richarlison. And now we still have six games (until the final) to achieve our dream. »
Valiant effort of the Serbs
It was also Richarlison, Tottenham striker, who scored the 1-0 goal in the 62e. Viní, from Real Madrid, descends the left lane, approaches the surface like the gazelle he is, and receives the ball from the foot of Neymar in the axis. He sends it to the penalty spot, the goalkeeper puts his hand there, Richy grabs the return and hits the mark at the mouth. Release.
Because until the hour mark, Serbia had given him a real hard time. Despite all the great attacks from the favourites, the defensive block had been tight. Goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic was not unworthy either, especially with his fine save on a swift strike from Vinícius in the 27the.
“Serbia were very good, very quick in the first half,” said Tite. But it’s hard to maintain such a rhythm. They’re a great team, we managed to control them even though they were very strong, it took a lot of effort. »
But in terms of volume, the wall finally gave way. The Brazilians attempted 22 shots, against 5 for the Serbs. Of the lot, the winners framed 8; the beaten, 0.
“I think we were equal for 45 minutes,” said Serbian coach Dragan Stojkovic. Brazil didn’t dominate that much, but in the second half we declined physically. […] I did not recognize my team. We came here with a lot of problems, a lot of key player injuries. It’s like that, you have to deal with it. »
Perfect introduction for the Seleção, therefore, which is launching firmly into its World Cup. Tournament which, moreover, had not really started without a proper exit from its greatest champions, had it not?