Pelé ordered – and Brazil did magic. With the motivation of his biggest football icon, the record world champion has opened the hunt for the sixth world title in a brilliant way.
Brazil performed magic – but Neymar cried. The superstar suddenly had tears in his eyes on the bench, his right ankle had to be cooled with ice after the substitution. The record world champion has opened the hunt for the sixth world title brilliantly, but the 2-0 (0-0) against Serbia may have paid dearly. Whether Neymar got more than a thick ankle in a total of nine fouls and in a number of tough duels will be the topic of the coming days.
From the result at least the start was successful. Because when Neymar was still squatting on the lawn, the match winner was substituted to thunderous applause: Richarlison had stolen the show from him with a dust-off (62nd) and a spectacular side pull (73rd).
“Four weeks ago I was still crying on the pitch myself, I was injured,” said Richarlison, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur in England. “I was even afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fly to the World Cup at all. But all the efforts were worth it. I’m super happy.”
Brazil celebrated where they desperately want to celebrate the “Hexacampeonato” on December 18: in the Lusail finals stadium. In the end, the pass carousel turned dizzying – but Neymar sadly buried his face in his shirt.
World Cup 2022: Neymar replaced
Neymar takes his third attempt at the world title – for a deeply divided country. The yellow and green national jersey, seen by tens of thousands in the Lusail final stadium, had been politically appropriated by right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro’s camp in recent weeks. The football superstar also drummed loudly for the incumbent in the presidential runoff election, in vain: Bolsonaro lost to Lula da Silva, whose supporters despise Neymar.
Unifying is the great Pele, the only player in history with three world titles. The 82-year-old wrote on Instagram: “Our 200 million hearts will beat as one. Let’s approach every game like a final!”
Neymar, who lined up half-left in attack, took it seriously. He turned the first corner kick with a spectacular trajectory straight onto goal – it almost worked (14′). A long-range shot by the PSG world star was blocked (20th), Neymar had already cushioned the first of a total of nine fouls with the typical triple roll. In the end, the nation worried about their superstar: after being substituted, Neymar had ice packs wrapped around his right foot, he suffered and cried.
In general, the Serbian five-man defense chain with Bremen’s Milos Veljkovic at the center rigorously cleared away, she was wide awake with short lay-offs. The attentive goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic also fished the ball off Vinicius Junior (27th).
Serbia itself also looked for the offensive from the outside positions from time to time, but by no means froze in awe. However, the pressure increased by the minute: Raphinha produced a ball from the best position, Nikola Milenkovic got his foot in between Vinicius Junior. Immediately after the break, Milinkovic-Savic saved against Raphinha, who had stolen the ball from Nemanja Gudelj.
Serbia: Vanja Milinkovic-Savic – Pavlovic, Milenkovic, Veljkovic – Zivkovic (from 57th Radonjic), Gudelj (from 57th Ilic), Lukic (from 66th Lazovic), Mladenovic (from 66th Vlahovic) – Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – A .Mitrovic (from 83. Maksimovic), Tadic. – Coach: Stojkovic
referee: Alireza Faghani (Iran)
Brazil – Serbia: The data on the game
Viewers: 88,103 (sold out in Lusail)
yellow cards: – Pavlovic, Gudelj, Lukic