Richalison’s second-half brace helped Brazil humble hard-fighting Serbians on a heated World Cup opening game.
Brazil: Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro; Lucas Paqueta, Casemiro; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Junior; Richarlison.
Serbia: Vanja Milinkovic-Savic; Milos Veljkovic, Nikola Milenkovic, Strahinja Pavlovic; Andrija Zivkovic, Sasa Lukic, Nemanja Gudelj, Filip Mladenovic; Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Tadic; Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Brazil went into the game as top favourites as they have won all their last three encounters against Serbia, with two being World Cup games.
They are only the only team that have not failed to qualify for the World Cup since its inception in 1930.
The 2022 edition, the 22nd edition of the tournament, marks their 22nd appearance in the tournament, and they have only failed to qualify from the group stage since 1982 and have failed only once to qualify for Round 16 in 1966.
Brazil started on a good note, dominating play and mounting pressure as the first half began. Serbia defender Pavlovic received the game’s first yellow card after he fouled Neymar just seven minutes after kick-off.
The first big chance for Brazil came in the 28th minute. Silva had sent a great through ball from the defence to Vinicius Junior in the far right.
The Real Madrid star nearly made it count, but Milinkovic-Savic pulled a fantastic save to clear the ball off his feet.
Brazil came close again in the 35th minute. A quick one-two between Raphinha and Paqueta saw the former Leeds and Barcelona star fire a shot at goal, but it was saved.
The first half ended with Brazil having more of the ball and doing better than the Serbians, but they could not make it count.
Brazil stepped up their game in the second half and had a series of early chances.
Just a minute into the second half Miliknovic-Savic nearly shot his team in the leg after he played an awful pass to Gudeji.
Raphinha intercepted it and nearly made it count before Savic saved again.
In the 49th minute, it was another booking for Serbian midfielder Gudeji. He had tackled Neymar roughly, and the referee had no choice but to issue a yellow card.
Brazil continued to push for a goal as the game progressed but could not break the goal deadlock until the 62nd minute.
Premier League and Tottenham star Richarlison shot the Brazilians into the deserved lead after a hard fight with the Serbian defence.
Neymar had charged down the Serbia defence, evading several defenders, before leaving it for Vinicius Junior in the box, who fired a shot at Milinkovic-Savic.
The Serbin goalkeeper punched it away, but Richarlison was in the right place to volley home a rebound. It was Brazil 1-0 against Serbia.
Brazil still looks more threatening when they are with the ball after taking the lead. They were earnestly searching for another goal to double the lead.
In the 73rd minute, Richarlison again had another goal to double the lead and sink the Serbians. It was a fantastic bicycle volley by the Tottenham star.