Richardson’s heroics save Brazil vs tough Serbia

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LUSAIL, Qatar – two goals from richardson walker Brazil a stubborn past Serbia, 2-0In SeleçãoThe opening game in Group G at the 2022 World Cup.

It took a while for Brazilian manager Tite’s men to get going and one night when neymar Having been subdued, it was left to Vinicius Jr. and Richardson to lead the side to victory.

Here’s ESPN’s Gabriel Marcotti with reaction and analysis from Qatar.

jump to: player ratings , Best/Worst Performers , Highlights and Notable Moments , post match quotes , key figures , upcoming fixtures


Swift response

1. After a poor first half, Brazil come to life

in this Brazil a while to go against a well-organized Serbia, as evidenced by a first half that recorded the lowest xG total of the tournament so far. And while you have to give credit to the opposition, it was also the first part when Brazil’s creative outlets were silenced.

Rafinha flickered quickly and then disappeared, neymar space not found and lined up with Nikola Milenkovic And nemanja gudelj, lucas paqueta could not find a way for them to pass, and richardson Was marshalled well by the last three.

But football is also a game of individual battles. ViniciusPerhaps the most consistent attacking threat, he was shot wide Vanja Milinkovic-Savic Dropped in the path of Richardson for the opener.

And, of course, the second goal was all Richardson’s talent and improvisation. You don’t plan like that and Brazil coach Tite knows it.

It was enough against Serbia and of course, he also hit the woodwork twice and could have scored more. But Brazil will need to step up their game from what we saw in the first half.

It’s good to have a well of individual talent that you can tap into, but it’s still nicer to impose your collective will on the opposition.

2. Serbia’s smart game plan almost works

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic’s game plan worked half the way. He jammed the middle of the park, he made Serbia physical and agile without defending too deep, and he limited Brazil’s attacking threat to individual forays that were usually quickly extinguished.

The problem was that three of their most advanced players clearly lacked pace: dusan tadic, Alexander Mitrovic And Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, This meant that counterattacks were always going to be difficult – at best Serbia could hope to win possession in transition and keep the ball moving as a team.

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But on a night when none of the three were clicking, it became too easy for Brazil to defend — and, with the advantage of hindsight, you wonder whether the fit, mobile dusan vlahovic There could have been a better option.

The big man’s only appearance in the last month was a 45-minute stint against a friendly Bahrain Last week. Stojkovic may be resting him in the tournament knowing he can be more of a difference-maker against the likes of Switzerland And cameroon,

3. Brazil’s overwhelming support seals Qatar

Brazil might be the most popular national team in this part of the word. The swaying bowl of Lusail was a sea of ​​yellow and the metro ride high above central Doha was filled with canary yellow.

There were many Brazilians who made the trip, but there were also many locals who adopted SeleçãoWhether because of Neymar’s popularity or having won five World Cups or the fact that he is once again the favourite.

Brazil being a favorite of neutral countries is nothing new. No country has been more closely identified with the World Cup Brazil, It does feel though, perhaps because of some tension between the European federations and the Qatari organisers, that Brazil as a team is favored more than any other team.

Whatever the case, it looks like Brazil will enjoy home ground advantage during this World Cup. Perhaps more so than hosts Qatar, given the way the Al Bayt Stadium was evicted when they were two goals down during the opener.


player ratings

Brazil: Alisson 6, Danilo 7, Marquinjos 7, Thiago Silva 7, Alex Sandro 8, Casemiro 7, Lucas Paqueta 5, Rafinha 5, Neymar 6, Vinicius 8, Richardson 7

sub: Fred 6, Martinelli 6, Antony 6, Rodrigo 6, Gabriel Jesus 6

Serbia: V. Milinkovic-Savic 7, Milenkovic 6, Veljkovic 6, Pavlovic 7, Zivkovic 5, S.

sub: Radonjic 6, Ilic 6, Lajovic 6, Vlahovic 6, Maksimovic 6


best and worst performers

Best: Vinicius, Brazil

Yes, Richardson scored two goals, one of them highlight reel stuff. But for consistency throughout the match, I’m picking Vinicius, whose prowess down the wing was a constant destabilizing force even during the first half, when most of Brazil’s attacks went quiet.

Bad: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Serbia

He had to hold the ball and let Serbia move forward, but Marquinhos and Thiago Silva kept him at bay, neutralizing both his physicality and his ability to find space. He may not be fit, but if it’s going to be his level, it makes more sense to start Vlahovic, who at least threatens to run behind defenders.


Highlights and Notable Moments

The first half was a bit of a snooze fest: it wasn’t just scoreless, it also had the lowest xG, or expected goals, of any first half ever at the World Cup, meaning good scoring chances were few and far between.

But Brazil came back to life in the second half after the break, finding a dangerous moment in the first minute and then a goal from Richardson in the 62nd minute.

However, the only goal anyone will be talking about is Richardson’s second goal: a flying acrobatic side-stroke volley. Richardson tossed the ball towards him – perhaps with a misplaced, poor first touch – and he finished it off beautifully.


After the match: What the players and managers said

Check back soon…


Key Stats (Provided by ESPN Stats & Info)

  • The first half ended with Brazil generating an XG, or expected goals, of 0.21, while Serbia generated only 0.04. This was the lowest XG in the first half so far in this World Cup.

  • Richardson is the fourth player to score the first two goals in a single World Cup for Brazil, joining Kereka (1990), Neymar (2014) and Philippe Coutinho (2018).

  • Neymar paid the price for nine of the 12 fouls committed by Brazil. Neymar’s nine fouls were the same as all other players on both teams combined – Serbia had a total of six fouls.


next

Brazil: Group G resumes on Monday, November 28, when Brazil faces Switzerland at 11am ET. Then, Brazil will face Cameroon on Friday, December 2 at 2PM ET.

Serbia: Group G resumes on Monday, November 28, when Serbia faces Cameroon at 5PM ET. Then, Serbia will face Switzerland on Friday, December 2 at 2 PM ET.





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