LUSAIL, Qatar — Two targets from Richarlison propelled Brazil previous a cussed Serbia, 2-0, within the Selecao‘s opening sport in Group G on the 2022 World Cup.
It took Brazil supervisor Tite’s males some time to get going and, on an evening when Neymar was subdued, it was left to Vinicius Jr. and Richarlison to hold the aspect to victory.
Right here is ESPN’s Gabriele Marcotti with response and evaluation from Qatar.
1. After poor first half, Brazil spark to life
It took Brazil some time to get going in opposition to a well-organized Serbia, as evidenced by a primary half that recorded the bottom xG whole of the match so far. And whereas it’s important to give credit score to the opposition, it was additionally a primary half when Brazil’s inventive retailers have been silenced.
Raphinha flickered early after which disappeared, Neymar couldn’t discover house and rowed with Luka Milenkovic and Nemanja Gudelj, Lucas Paqueta could not discover the measure of his passing, and Richarlison was well-marshalled by the again three.
However soccer can be a sport of particular person battles. Vinicius, maybe essentially the most constant attacking menace, put within the shot from large that Vanja Milinkovic-Savic spilled into Richarlison’s path for the opener. And, in fact, the second aim was all Richarlison genius and improvisation. You do not sport plan for that type of factor and Brazil coach Tite is aware of it.
In opposition to Serbia it was sufficient and, in fact, additionally they hit the woodwork twice and will have scored extra. However Brazil might want to elevate their sport relative to what we noticed within the first half.
It is good to have a effectively of particular person expertise to which you’ll flip, nevertheless it’s nicer nonetheless to impose your collective will on the opposition.
2. Serbia’s sensible sport plan virtually works
The sport plan from Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic labored for a half. He clogged the center of the park, he bought Serbia to be bodily and tight with out defending too deep, and he restricted Brazil’s attacking menace to particular person forays, which have been normally rapidly snuffed out.
The issue was that there was a definite lack of tempo in his three most superior gamers: Dusan Tadic, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. That meant occurring the counterattack was at all times going to be tough — at greatest Serbia may hope to win possession in transition and maintain up the ball, pushing ahead as a crew.
However on an evening when not one of the three have been clicking, it turned too straightforward for Brazil to defend that — and, with the advantage of hindsight, you surprise if a match, cellular Dusan Vlahovic might need been a greater possibility.
The massive man’s solely look up to now month was a forty five minute stint in a pleasant in opposition to Bahrain final week. Perhaps Stojjkovic is easing him into the match, understanding that he might be extra of a difference-maker in opposition to the likes of Switzerland and Cameroon.
3. Brazil’s giant assist places stamp on Qatar
Brazil might be the preferred nationwide crew on this a part of the phrase. The Lusail’s wavy bowl was a sea of yellow and the subway trip up from central Doha was teeming with the green-and-gold.
Many have been Brazilians who had made the journey, however many have been merely locals who’ve embraced the Selecao, whether or not due to Neymar’s reputation or the 5 World Cups they’ve received or the truth that they’re, as soon as once more, favorites.
Brazil being the neutrals’ favourite is nothing new, in fact. No nation is as intently recognized with the World Cup because the Inexperienced-and-Gold. It does really feel although, maybe due to a few of the stress between the European associations and the Qatari organisers, that Brazil as a crew are extra preferred than another.
Regardless of the case, it appears Brazil will get pleasure from home-field benefit all through this World Cup. In all probability extra so than hosts Qatar, judging by the best way the Al Bayt stadium emptied after they have been two targets down through the opener.
Brazil: Alisson 6, Danilo 7, Marquinjhos 7, Thiago Silva 7, Alex Sandro 8, Casemiro 7, Lucas Paqueta 5, Raphinha 5, Neymar 6, Vinicius 8, Richarlison 7
Subs: Fred 6, Martinelli 6, Antony 6, Rodrygo 6, Gabriel Jesus 6
Serbia: V. Miilinkovic-Savic 7, Milenkovic 6, Velkjovic 6, Pavlovic 7, Zivkovic 5, S. Milinkovic-Savic 5, Gudelj 7, Lukic 7, Mladenovic 7, Tadic 5, Mitrovic 5
Subs: Radonjic 6, Ilic 6, Lazovic 6, Vlahovic 6, Maksimovic 6
Greatest and worst performers
BEST: Vinicius, Brazil
Sure, Richarlison scored two targets, one in all them spotlight reel stuff. However for consistency all through the match, l’m choosing Vinicius, whose accelerations down the wing have been a continuing destabilizing pressure even throughout a primary half when most of Brazil’s assault went quiet.
WORST: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Serbia
He was supposed to carry up the ball and permit Serbia to squeeze ahead, however Marquinhos and Thiago Silva saved him at bay, neutralizing each his physicality and his skill to seek out house. Perhaps he is not match, but when that is going to be his degree, it makes extra sense to begin Vlahovic, who a minimum of provides a menace working behind the defneders.
Highlights and notable moments
The primary half was a little bit of a sleep fest: it wasn’t simply scoreless, it featured the bottom xG, or anticipated targets, of any first half within the World Cup up to now, that means good scoring probabilities have been few and much between.
However Brazil sprang to life within the second half, discovering a harmful second within the first minute after the break, after which a aim from Richarlison within the 62nd minute.
The one aim anybody shall be speaking about, nonetheless, is Richarlison’s second aim: a flying acrobatic side-struck volley. Richarlison popped the ball as much as himself — maybe with a mistaken, unhealthy first contact — and he completed it off fantastically.
Cannot cease watching this INSANE aim by Richarlison pic.twitter.com/xYmwln4Ajk
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 24, 2022
After the match: What the gamers and managers mentioned
Verify again shortly…
Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Data)
The primary half ended with Brazil generated an xG, or anticipated targets, of 0.21 while Serbia solely generated 0.04. That was the bottom xG in a primary half up to now on this World Cup.
Richarlison is the fourth participant to attain the primary two targets at a single World Cup for Brazil, becoming a member of Careca (1990), Neymar (2014) and Philippe Coutinho (2018).
Neymar took the brunt of 9 fouls out of the 12 the Brazilian aspect suffered. Neymar’s 9 fouls suffered have been a lot as each different participant for each groups mixed — Serbia as a suffered six whole.
Brazil: Group G resumes on Monday, Nov. 28, when Brazil will face Switzerland at 11 a.m. ET. Then, Brazil face Cameroon on Friday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. ET.
Serbia: Group G resumes on Monday, Nov. 28, when Serbia will face Cameroon at 5 a.m. ET. Then, Serbia face Switzerland on Friday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. ET.