Doha, Nov 24 (EFE).- Brazil got their World Cup 2022 campaign off to a great start Thursday, defeating Serbia 2-0 on a pair of goals by Richarlison.
The Canarinha, who are chasing a record-extending sixth World Cup title, lead Group G by virtue of better goal difference than Switzerland, who beat Cameroon 1-0 earlier in the day.
The only negative for Brazil – and for the tens of thousands of Brazil fans who packed Doha’s Lusail Stadium – was seeing Neymar leave the pitch in pain in the 79th minute.
Team physician Rodrigo Lemar said after the match that the Paris Saint-Germain star and Brazil captain suffered a sprained ankle and that it will be at least 24 hours before the medical staff can determine the extent of the injury.
But the prospect of being without Neymar for the rest of the group stage will be less worrisome following Richarlison’s spectacular performance.
The 25-year-old Tottenham Hotspur forward has scored nine times in seven appearances for Brazil this year and his overhead strike to make it 2-0 Thursday is a strong contender for the best goal of the first 32 matches in Qatar.
Though Serbia have a proven striker in Alexander Mitrovic and a talented playmaker in Dusan Tadic, their approach to the clash with high-scoring Brazil was emphatically defensive and the Balkan side failed to put a single shot on target.
And those tactics, combined with seven saves by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, held the Brazilians at bay until the 62nd minute, when the Serbian keeper stopped an effort by Vinicius Jr. only to watch helplessly as Richarlison scored off the rebound.
Eleven minutes later, a pass from Vini found him in the area and Richarlison produced a spectacular bicycle kick to nail down the 3 points for Brazil. EFE msg/dr