Richarlison act for Brazil sends World Cup fans into meltdown

Richarlison's stunning bicycle kick strike for Brazil is already being tipped to be the goal of the World Cup. Pic: Getty
Richarlison's stunning bicycle kick strike for Brazil is already being tipped to be the goal of the World Cup. Pic: Getty

Brazil forward Richarlison has sent the football world into a frenzy with a moment of magic in his side's opening group match victory against Serbia at the World Cup. Richarlison scored both goals in Brazil's 2-0 victory that sees them jump to the top of Group G after Switzerland's 1-0 win over Cameroon in the earlier match.

A cagey opening half ended scoreless as Brazil and Serbia created few chances of significant note. However, the match came alive after the hour mark as the Brazilians demonstrated why many experts are tipping them to be the team to beat in Qatar.

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A jinking run from Neymar towards the penalty box left a number of Serbian defenders on edge, before the ball fell at the feet of Vinícius Júnior, whose powerful low drive could only be parried into the path of Richarlison to tap in a regulation opening goal for Brazil.

There was nothing regulation about the second goal, however, as the Tottenham star fashioned something out of nothing to double the advantage. Vinícius was once again the provider as his exquisite cross from the outside of his right boot was controlled by Richarlison, who swivelled and smashed it home via a stunning bicycle kick.

Richarlison raced towards the corner flag as teammates poured in from all angles to join him in the celebrations. The astonishing goal sent social media into meltdown as viewers reacted to what many are already tipping to b be the goal of the tournament.

Brazil coach Tite's decision to go with four forwards - Neymar, Vini Jr., Raphinha and Richarlison - in his attacking lineup paid off handsomely as the South Americans dominated the match and made Serbia work hard every time they went forward.

Vinicius used his acceleration to good effect to constantly beat his man while Neymar, playing in a free role, often found pockets of space, but a well-drilled Serbian defence kept Brazil at bay in the first half.

Serbia had been sweating over the fitness of their all-time top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic but coach Dragan Stojkovic named him in the starting team. Unlike Brazil's forward line, however, which threatened from all sides, the Fulham striker found himself isolated up front with little service.

Seen here, Brazil players thanking their fans after their opening 2-0 win over Serbia at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Brazil players thank their fans after their opening 2-0 win over Serbia at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Pic: Getty

The second half was one-way traffic as Brazil shifted through the gears, Richarlison and Neymar wasting gilt-edged chances inside the box and Alex Sandro and Casemiro sending long-range efforts against the woodwork.

The breakthrough came just after the hour from brilliant work by Neymar to find Vinicius, whose initial shot was saved by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but Richarlison was in the right place to tap in the rebound for his first World Cup goal, quickly followed by his outrageous second.

The forward has now scored nine goals for Brazil this year, with his goals leaving the tournament favourites top of Group G and Serbia bottom, following Switzerland's tight win over Cameroon. Breel Embolo's 48th minute strike proved enough as the Swiss got their campaign off to a winning - if not entirely convincing - start.

In the other two Group H matches in Qatar on Thursday (Friday AEDT), Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man to score at five different FIFA World Cups as Portugal beat Ghana 3-2. That victory was enough to see the Portuguese take top spot in the group after South Korea and Uruguay shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw.

with agencies

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