That’s what happened on Thursday night, when the goal of this nascent World Cup graced the Lusail Stadium two days after the turn of the ages did the same. Where on Tuesday there was Saudi Arabia over Argentina, now came the spectacle in the 73rd minute in Brazil over Serbia. This consolidated Brazil’s 2-0 victory in the opening match. It came from Richarlison, the 25-year-old who has been scoring a lot of goals lately. It made people gasp and maybe even scream involuntarily.
It caused a stadium noise that carried the unmistakable sound of awe and sustained longer than most such noises. That sent Tite, Brazil’s long-time coach, into an adorable frenzy as he went to hug his team, later saying: “Sometimes the feelings can’t be explained.” And he lent the post-match lounges the kind of lingering buzz you can’t get from the non-alcoholic beer they serve in these stadiums here.
“I think it was a beautiful goal,” Richarlison said of his bicycle spin in the middle of the penalty area. He cited previous and similar goals with Fluminense in Brazil and Everton in England and said: “Today I had the opportunity to score an acrobatic goal which was really, really beautiful, I think one of the most beautiful goals of my career. It was a very difficult match for us, so I think it was one of the best goals I’ve ever scored.”
He scored 88 in club games, 19 in international games and two of those 19 on Thursday night, so that’s a mass of goals to reckon with. “As our teacher, Tite, says, ‘You can smell the goal,’” Richarlison said. “And that’s what happens.” It brought a bounty to those who traveled to the stadium in anticipation of beauty, while filling the new subway cars and new subway stations with that reliable old electric yellow.
What they saw and certainly evaluated on their way home in Portuguese and a bunch of other languages even managed to overshadow something difficult to overshadow. Neymar, Brazil’s best-known figure, now 30 and based in Paris, suffered an ankle injury in the second half, played another 11 minutes before his coach noticed, earned praise from his manager for his pain tolerance and became was the subject of a press conference by a team doctor, who said it’s too early to say much.
“We are confident that Neymar will continue to play,” said Tite. “He will continue to play in the World Cup.” If so, he could help guide Brazil’s quest for a first World Cup title in 20 years, as well as chasing Brazil’s goalscoring record held by Pele at 77, with Neymar at 75. If not, well, there are. other stars. with electric skill on electric yellow, and Thursday’s two goals came in happy walks from Vinicius Junior to Richarlison.
That one came in the 62nd minute, when Vinicius Junior, the 22-year-old marvel of energy and precision and a Real Madrid player, corralled a ball that Neymar had missed on the edge of the penalty area and shot suddenly into the net. , where goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic sprawled out to save him before Richarlison poked in easily.
That made it 1-0, and that’s not what people are going to carry in their memory banks.
The unforgettable came 11 minutes later, and once again featured the creation of Vinicius Junior. He operated from the left wing, of course, and this time he slipped a ball of vision through a narrow corridor of human obstacles. He got to Richarlison in the middle of the box and then there was the wow.
Richarlison connected with his left foot and scored in the air. Then he pivoted, pivoted his body and pedaled with his right foot. It didn’t go an inch over Serbia defender Milos Velijkovic’s left shoulder as Richarlison’s flying boot nearly nudged Velijkovic in the head. He maintained his whoop line and ran inside the left post, with Milinkovic-Savic as helpless in his last lurch as any of Earth’s 8 billion. For the second time in a short period, the entire Brazilian team gathered in the corner for a big celebration.
“He goes up,” Tite said of the ball, “and he reschedules all his plans,” and how they reschedule plans.
World Cup star Brazil finally debuted in this 22nd men’s World Cup, the 22nd for which Brazil has qualified. He became the last of the big shots to debut in this World Cup with a unique position on the calendar. Her fans from around the world, often plentiful, arrived with her sing-along sound in the usual I-can’t-wait outpouring. With a few Serbs in red and blue mixed in, they emptied towards Lusail Stadium, the futuristic structure that at night looks like an illuminated soap dish.
They saw Brazil, the tournament favorites by default, struggle against some with a more than capable Serbia in a first half without many wows. “During the break,” said Tite, 61, who has coached Brazil since 2016, “I had to tell my players to calm down, because first we need to have a [lightness] that we needed to pass the ball.”
He said, “We needed to get the adrenaline down.”
They made positioning adjustments and soon, assistant Cleber Xavier said, “We continued to increase speed, expand movements and create opportunities”, with that they created admiration.
Group G had started with the Brazilians tied with the Swiss on three points, and Richarlison declared “a wonderful night” with “a beautiful victory” so that “now we have six more games to reach our goal”, but first he would see how Neymar was at the hotel. Serbia, who had won their group in the qualifiers, “always had a lot of pressure” in the match, said Tite, “so they demanded a lot from us”. All of this kickstarted Brazil’s bid to increase its record total of five World Cup titles to six, and reminded all at once that Brazil’s reality sometimes lives up to the idea.