That’s what happened on Thursday night, when the goal of this burgeoning World Cup graced Lusail Stadium, two days after the shake-up of the ages did the same. Where Saudi Arabia had been over Argentina on Tuesday, the spectacle now came to Brazil over Serbia after 73 minutes. It confirmed Brazil’s 2-0 opening win. It came from Richarlison, the 25-year-old who has been scoring big lately. It made people gasp and maybe even scream involuntarily.
It produced a stadium sound that carried the unmistakable sound of wonder and lasted longer than most such sounds. It sent Tite, the long-time Brazilian manager, into an affectionate frenzy as he went upstairs to hug his staff, later saying, “Sometimes feelings can’t be explained.” And it gave the postgame competitions the kind of lingering buzz that you can’t get from the non-alcoholic beer they serve here in these stadiums.
“I think it was a beautiful goal,” said Richarlison of his bicycle whirl from the center of the box. Citing previous and similar goals with Brazil’s Fluminense club and England’s Everton, he said: “Today I had the chance to score an acrobatic goal that was very, very beautiful, I think one of the most beautiful in my career. It was a really tough game 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 it’s a mass of goals to judge. “As our professor, Tite, says, ‘You smell purpose,'” Richarlison said. “And that’s what happens.” It was a reward for those who had traveled to the stadium in anticipation of beauty as they filled the spotless new subways and shiny new subway stations with that old, reliable, electric yellow.
What they saw and certainly judged on their way home in Portuguese and a slew of other languages actually managed to overshadow something difficult to overshadow. Neymar, Brazil’s most recognizable figure, now 30 and living in Paris, suffered a unfortunate ankle injury in the second half, played 11 more minutes before his manager realized it, earned his manager’s praise for his pain tolerance and became the subject of a press conference appearance by a team doctor, who said it is too early to tell much.
“We are confident that Neymar will continue to play,” said Tite. “He will continue to play at the World Cup.” If so, he could help steer Brazil’s bid for a first World Cup title in a gaping 20 years, and Pelé’s Brazil goalscoring record at 77, with Neymar at 75. If not, exist there are other stars. with electric skill in electric yellow, and both goals on Thursday went on merry treks through Vinicius Junior to Richarlison.
It happened after 62 minutes, when Vinicius Junior, the 22-year-old prodigy of energy and precision and Real Madrid employment, gathered a ball that Neymar had lost track of on the left side of the penalty area and suddenly slammed it into goal. , where keeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic stretched out to save the ball before Richarlison easily put it in.
That made it 1-0, and that wasn’t what people will carry in the memory banks.
The unforgettable came 11 minutes later, and it revolved around Vinicius Junior’s creation again. He operated from the left wing, of course, and this time he slid a guide ball through a narrow corridor of human obstacles. It found its way to Richarlison in the middle of the box, and then came the whoa.
Richarlison processed it with his left foot and tapped it in the air. Then he turned, twisted his body and cycled it right footed. It might not have seared an inch over Serbian defender Milos Velijkovic’s left shoulder when Richarlison’s flying, flailing boot nearly hit Velijkovic’s head. It kept its screaming line and rushed just inside the left post, with Milinkovic-Savic as helpless in his late lunge as any of Earth’s 8 billion would have been. For the second time in a short time, the entire Brazilian team gathered in the corner for a swaying celebration.
“It’s going up,” Tite said of the ball, “and he’s rearranging his whole plan,” and what adept plan reschedulers they are.
The most star of the World Cup star teams, Brazil, has finally made its debut at this 22nd World Cup for men, the 22nd Brazil has qualified for. It had become the last of the champions to start this World Cup with a strange placement on the calendar. The fans from all over the world, times plentiful, had arrived with their lilting loudness in the usual burst of can’t wait. Accompanied by a few Serbs in red and blue, they’d deflated toward Lusail Stadium, the futuristic building that looks a bit like an illuminated soap dish at night.
They saw Brazil, the default favorite of the tournament, trudge through a first half with a more than capable Serbia without much fuss. “During the break,” said Tite, the 61-year-old who has led Brazil since 2016, “I had to tell my players to calm down because first we need a [lightness] that we had to pass the ball.”
He said, “We had to lower the adrenaline.”
They adjusted the positioning and soon assistant Cleber Xavier said: “We continued to increase speed, expand movements and create chances”, to which they aroused wonder.
Group G had left the starting gate with the Brazilians level with the Swiss on three points, and Richarlison declared “a wonderful evening” with “a wonderful win” so that “now we have six games left to reach our goal”, but first he would check Neymar at the hotel. Serbia, having won its group in qualifying, “was always under a lot of pressure” in the game, Tite said, “so it asked a lot of us.” All of this was a great start to Brazil’s attempt to push its record five World Cup title tally to six, and a reminder that Brazil’s reality sometimes lives up to the idea.