Richarlison justifies Tite decision with stunning Brazil brace

Richarlison justifies Tite decision with stunning Brazil brace

Updated: 3 days, 12 hours, 38 minutes, 1 second ago

BRAZIL 2-0 SERBIA: The Selecao shook off some early jitters to eventually show everyone why they are the favourites for the World Cup as Richarlison bagged a beatiful brace for Brazil

Brazil got their 2022 World Cup campaign off to a bright start with a hard-fought 2-0 victory against a Serbia side who tried valiantly to keep them at bay.

The pair actually met at the last edition of the tournament, with Brazil running out 2-0 winners again in the final group game back in Russia. It was a similarly cagey affair this time around, though eventually the Selecao picked the Serbia lock.

45 minutes passed by with very little to note, the first-half's biggest chance falling to the feet of Raphinha but the best the Barcelona man could do was fire straight at Serbia goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic despite being in plenty of space inside the penalty area.

The likes of Neymar and Vinicius Jr were nulified by an organised Serbian side who kept the favourites at bay in their strict five-four-one formation. Alex Sandro came incredibly close to a delightful opener for Brazil, but his long-dtance effort rattled the foot of the goalpost.

Shortly after, Richarlison was on hand to strike at a vital time as he continued his fantastic form to net his first ever World Cup goal.

Minutes later and it was two for Brazil and two for the Tottenham talent as he fired home a stunning volley to secure the three points.

Mirror Football has taken a look at five of the game's main talking points as the Selecao appear calm in the face of being tournament favourites.

Richarlison given the nod over Jesus

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Some Arsenal fans may have been left scratching their heads over the fact their leading man was benched in favour of a Richarlison who has struggled over at north London rivals Tottenham so far this term.

However, Brazil boss Tite is well aware of the fact that the Spurs striker’s form for his country is significantly superior to that of Jesus’ in recent months.

The Spurs star had seven goals in his last six Brazil outings going into their World Cup opener, mixed with Jesus' form suffering a decline at the Emirates and it is unlikely to have been a particularly difficult call for the manager.

It took an hour, but Richarlison justified the decision as he was on hand to bundle home the all-important goal as he responded fastest to the rebound from Vinicius' strike.

His second was far more spectacular, coming in the form of an acrobatic volley that put the result beyond any doubt.

Before the game, Tite claimed that Richarlison "smells of goals" - he's now likely to retain his place for Monday's clash with Switzerland.

Neymar-watch

The poster boy for Brazilian football had all eyes on him yet again when the Selecao took on Serbia but he struggled to light up the show.

Never one to shy away from the more audacious option, less than 15 minutes had passed before Neymar seemingly tried to catch Serbia shot-stopper Milinković-Savić off guard and score directly from a corner, but his effort was thwarted.

In true Neymar fashion though, it wasn't all flare, tricks and flicks with the 30-year-old guilty of some trademark rolling around after a few fairly tame tackles.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar took up some perculiar positions at times, with Neymar often being found in his own half alongside midfielder Lucas Paqueta but his dazzling dribbling helped open up the chance for Vinicius to get his shot away, eventually leading to Richarlison's opener.

There will be concern over the fact that Neymar went down injured with just over 10 minutes to play, eventually replaced by Manchester United's Antony. However, the fact he was able to walk off rather than being aided by medical staff suggests it was merely a precuation.

Serbia's steely resilience

Though it came unstuck eventually, Serbia gave a Brazil side who were perhaps expecting an easier ride a far sterner test than many would have predicted.

The midfield battle proved key, with Dragan Stojkovic's side overloading the centre of the park with five midfielders and outnumbering the Brazilian counterparts.

It became clear that silencing Neymar was a very big part of Serbia's game plan, with Brazil's talisman being swarmed each time he picked up possession.

They failed to get points on the board, but Serbia can take comfort from their display and be confident that something similar against Cameroon would get the job done.

Brazil's wasteful finishing

The game didn't pass by without plenty of Brazil chances and Raphinha in particular was guilty of spurning some glorious opportunites either side of half-time.

His first gilt-edged chance came 20 minutes in when after a neat one-two he produced a tame-effort straight into the 'keeper's palms. Early on in the second period, the Barcelona winger had the opportunity to redeem himself but failed yet again.

After a questionable pass from Serbia goalkeeper Milinkovic-Savic, Raphinha was through on goal again - yet for the second time, the best he could do was hit it directly at the man between the sticks.

Raphinha wasn't the only one - Neymar really should have done better after getting on the end of a nice pass across goal only to guide his strike way wide of the post.

Tite will be hoping for mroe from both come Monday evening.

Vinicius Jr's mixed display

In the eyes of many the heir to Neymar’s thrown, the Real Madrid sensation has enjoyed quite the year and appears to be playing like a man ready to thrive on the biggest stage if his recent club form is anything to go by.

However, he hasn't always enjoyed the same kind of joy when it comes to representing his country. Vinicius has just one goal in 16 appearances for Brazil.

Lightening quick down that left-flank, the Los Blancos star gave both Andrija Živković and Nikola Milenković quite the scare on a number of occasions, but he couldn't add to his relatively feeble tally.

That's not to say he didn't have his chances, just before half time Vinicius looked to capitalise on a Serbia error but failed to get a clean shot off in time.

The Real Madrid man set up the second before being replaced with a quarter of an hour to go.