Soccer

Richarlison upstages Neymar and settles Jesus debate as Brazil win

Brazil V Serbia In Pictures

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Brazil battled their way to a 2-0 win over Serbia in their World Cup opener with Richarlison scoring twice. Tite’s side had entered the game with many expecting them to cruise to all three points. However, they had to dig deep to emerge victorious – and Express Sport will now take a look at four things we learned from the showdown.

Richarlison upstages Neymar

Neymar is always going to be the talisman of this Brazil side, having been their golden boy for the best part of a decade dating back to his time at Santos.

This is meant to be his World Cup. Now a player very much in his prime, and given his dazzling form for PSG, the onus is on him to deliver.

But Richarlison is becoming more of a figurehead for Brazil these days and popped up with a crucial goal in the 62nd minute, before then netting a sensational second.

The Tottenham star, who is yet to score in the Premier League since his move from Everton back in the summer, sparked wild scenes of celebration by prodding home from close range. His second, a remarkable acrobatic effort, was the icing on top of the cake.

Neymar will, of course, be important. But Richarlison will be equally so at the tip of their attack.

Jesus debate settled

Before the game, there had been a big debate over who should start between Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus.

And though Jesus has been in impressive form since moving from Manchester City to Arsenal back in the summer, firing the Gunners to the top of the Premier League, his compatriot is clearly ahead of him in the pecking order.

Richarlison put in a shift up top, pressing from the front and his goals topped off a good performance.

Jesus will have a role to play, of course, with the Arsenal star likely to be used as an impact substitute as the tournament goes on.

Yet the No 9 spot, previously occupied by the legendary Ronaldo when they last conquered the world in 2002, is very much his to lose.

Vinicius Jr is scarily good

When Real Madrid signed Vinicius Jr from Flamengo back in the summer transfer window of 2017, many eyebrows were raised.

Not because of his talent or potential but because of the fee involved, with Los Blancos forking out a massive £38million on the player – who was just 16 at the time.

Fast-forward to now, however, and it’s clear Vinicius is set to spend the next decade at the very top.

He was a constant thorn in Serbia’s side, with his pace and trickery causing all sorts of problems down the left wing. If anyone could get him for £38m today, they’d be landing the biggest bargain football has ever seen.

The 22-year-old is only going to get better in the coming years ahead, too. What a terrifying prospect that is.

Serbia looked toothless without Vlahovic

Serbia deserve credit for keeping Brazil at bay for as long as they did, especially given the immense quality of Tite’s side.

But it would be no understatement to say they looked entirely toothless up top without Dusan Vlahovic.

Yes, the Juventus star has been inconsistent for his club this season. Not that that has stopped him being linked with a move to Manchester United, mind.

Yet he would have potentially offered more than Aleksandar Mitrovic, who cut a rather static figure.

Vlahovic did come on but he’d be better as a lone striker, especially in matches against such tough opponents like this evening.

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