Neymar Jr returned from injury to help Brazil thump South Korea 4-1, setting up a World Cup quarter-final clash against Croatia.
Four unanswered Brazilian goals in the first half at Stadium 974 on Monday set an imperious tone for a team with their sights firmly on a sixth World Cup title.
And while the game settled in the second period, it was never sluggish or scrappy, and a spirited South Korea fought hard to score a consolation goal in the 76th minute.
If this match had been held in Education City, we would be calling it a footballing lesson. It wasn’t just a game against an obviously weaker opposition, it was a statement to the world.
It took just seven minutes for Brazil to get off the mark, with Raphael Raphinha picking up the ball just outside the box and rushing in on the right side, sending in a pass to Neymar. The Paris Saint-Germain number 10 was brought down by his marker and the ball ended up at the feet of Vinicius Junior, in acres of space.
The Real Madrid star steadied himself before placing it to the right of Kim Seung-gyu in the South Korean goal.
Just three minutes later, Richarlison was brought down by Jung Woo-young inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar, who had reportedly flown his barber out to Qatar to dye his hair blonde following previous victories over South Korea with a bleached bonce, wasted no time in slotting it into the bottom-right of the net. Brazil two-nil up withjust ten minutes on the clock.
South Korea had their share of chances, with Hwang Hee-chan, fresh off scoring the winner against Portugal, having a go from distance, but sending the ball comfortably over the bar. Moments later, Allison was forced to make a diving save to his left, his first save of the tournament.
But Paolo Bento’s men were simply outclassed in every part of the pitch.
A remarkable piece of skill in the 26th minute saw Richarlison juggling the ball, heading it to himself three times while evading defenders on the edge of South Korean box before passing it off, setting up a team move that resulted in the ball coming back to the former Watford striker, who shot cleanly while at speed and sent it in for Brazil’s magnificent third.
Just ten minutes later, Vinicius Jr set up Paqueta with a cheeky chip, and the midfielder shot low and right. Kim Seunggyu could do little but look at the ball nestling in the back of the net.
Four goals before half-time. Brazil putting down a marker for any teams who think they might have a chance of lifting the trophy on December 18.
Brazil will face Croatia in the quarter-finals at Education City on Friday.
Article source: https://www.aljazeera.com/sports/2022/12/5/recap-brazil-vs-south-korea-world-cup