After a scoreless first half, the world No.1 team did their best in the second half to outclass Serbia, who ended up lacking depth. Brazil broke the deadlock when Richarlison scored from close range in the 62nd minute, before the striker added a spectacular kick to double the lead 11 minutes later.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker has been in fine form wearing Brazil’s golden yellow kit this year and he opened the scoring with an easy tap-in before doubling the lead with his acrobatic effort.
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Tite’s decision to go with four forwards – NeymarVinicius Jr., Raphinha and Richarlison – in his attacking line-up paid off as the South Americans dominated the game and made Serbia work hard every time they advanced.
Vinicius used his acceleration to good effect to consistently beat his man while Neymar, playing in a free role, often found pockets of space but a well-drilled Serbian defense kept Brazil at bay in the first half.
Serbia had sweated over the fitness of their all-time top scorer, Aleksandar Mitrovic, but coach Dragan Stojkovic named him in the starting lineup.
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But unlike the Brazilian attack line which threatened from all sides, the Fulham striker found himself isolated in front with little service.
The second half was one-sided as Brazil shifted gears, with Richarlison and Neymar squandering golden chances inside the box and alexander sandro and Casemiro sending long-range efforts against the woodwork.
The breakthrough came just after the hour of brilliant work from Neymar to find Vinicius, whose opening shot was saved by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but Richarlison was in the right place to exploit the rebound for his first World Cup goal.
Serbia had played conservatively up until then and had no choice but to move on, which gave Brazil more space and Richarlison’s second goal caused the biggest roar of the night. Brazilian contingent.
Richarlisson! What have you done?! 🤯#FIFAWorldCup | @richarlison97 https://t.co/kCKFdlINXq
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As Richarlison tried to control a cross from Vinicius, the ball popped over his head and he leapt into the air to drive home a bicycle kick and seal the victory for Brazil.
Brazil’s dominance was such that they managed as many as 22 attempts on goal in the match, eight of which were on target, while Serbia failed to hit the target on their five attempts. Brazil have now jumped to the top of the group standings with the win.
Switzerland are second in the group after beating Cameroon 1-0 and Serbia are last.
(With agency contributions)