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Richardson’s double gives Brazil World Cup win over Serbia

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A second-half brace by Richardson, which included a spectacular overhead scissor kick, handed tournament favorites Brazil a 2-0 win over Serbia in their first World Cup game at Lusail Stadium on Thursday.

The record five-time winners struggled at times in the first half but improved after the break and were rewarded when Tottenham Hotspur striker Richardson followed up to score the opener in the 62nd minute after a Vinicius Junior shot was saved.

Vinicius then set up Richardson to score again in the 73rd minute with a superbly acrobatic effort, arguably the goal of the World Cup so far.

The result continued Brazil’s excellent record in the World Cup group stage, with their last defeat coming against Norway in 1998, when they had already made it to the next round.

Tite’s men now top Group G ahead of Switzerland, who beat Cameroon 1-0 and are Brazil’s next opponents.

The scoreline here was the same as when these sides met in the group stage in 2018, but Brazil will be determined to produce a far better performance than four years ago when they lost to Belgium in the quarter-finals.

They come to Qatar as favorites for a sixth title, two decades after their last win.

Other results in the opening round of matches in Qatar served as a reminder, with their great rivals Argentina suffering a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia at the same stadium and Germany suffering a blow from Japan.

However, Brazil will know not to take Serbia lightly, given that the team, ranked 21st in the FIFA rankings, is one of the best teams in Europe and topped their qualifying group above Portugal.

Nevertheless, a loss would have been a major blow for Brazil at a ground where they intend to return for the final on 18 December.

Tite sent out a very attacking-minded side with Neymar in support of Richardson, while Rafinha and Vinicius manned the wings and Lucas Paqueta added creativity in central midfield.

The world’s most expensive player, Neymar needed just two goals to equal Pelé’s all-time record of 77 for Brazil, but he will have to wait a little longer to get them.

Serbia did their best to frustrate the Paris Saint-Germain superstars, coming close to scoring directly from an early corner that would have raised the ceiling at the spectacular Lusail Stadium, where the stands were filled with yellow and green.


Brazil’s best moments in the first half came when Thiago Silva’s defence-splitting pass found Vinicius in the box, only for goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic to thwart the Real Madrid man, and when Rafinha scored before his shot. Saved a couple of plays with Paqueta.

Barcelona winger Rafinha was included within a minute of the restart when he fouled Nemanja Gudelj out of possession but was again denied by the goalkeeper.

However, Serbia’s resistance broke down just after the hour mark.

The warning came when Alex Sandro fired in a left-footed shot and the goal came two minutes later.

Neymar set up Vinicius for a shot, which Milinkovic-Savic took a hand, but the ball deflected off Richardson, who headed in to score.

Serbia responded with Juventus’ exciting striker Dusan Vlahovic battling injury.

Yet Brazil had now found their stride and deserved the biggest podium when the second goal arrived.

A Vinicius cross with the outside of his right boot was handled by Richardson, who then turned around and leaped to score with an abysmal acrobatic effort.

Brazil could have scored more, with Casemiro’s shot coming back off the crossbar, but it was a very promising start.

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