Under the ground – full-time analysis
Sun reporter Phil Thomas offers his thoughts on the game:
Apparently, Brazil have been working on ten choreographed dance routines to celebrate their World Cup goals.
Well, if Richarlison continues like this, they’ll have to do a few more rehearsals before the end of the group stages, not to mention the knockout stages.
The Spurs miss showed exactly why he, and not Neymar, is Brazil’s golden boy for so many with a double in the opening game.
When you think of Neymar, Vinicious Junior – remember him Liverpool fans? — and Raphinha could have finished with at least two apiece, get an indication of how frankly the favorites were in a league of their own.
If the Jolly Green Giant, AKA Serbia’s colossal goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, weren’t in the form of his life, they probably would have reached double digits by now.
As it is, these braces from Richarlison will work very well to start with. The celebrations may have been a long way from Len, but they’ll bail her out before long, believe me.
Of course, for any Premier League fan, Neymar is the heart of the team of this most famous footballing nation. However, the reality is completely different.
It’s Richarlison’s attitude, Richarlison’s influence and – most importantly – Richarlison’s accomplishment that make HIM the center of things.
And it’s that last point that showed his dream of beating Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane with his six-pack from Russia in 2018 could soon be a reality.
Incidentally, what a contrast to the two opening games of the two Spurs buddies.
Kane, for all England hit six in beating Iran, drew a gap and eventually required a scan that terrified the whole country.
Richarlison also gave a master class in old-school poaching and flying finishing for the cameras with his Serbian pair.
The first was cruel luck for Vanja as it came after the keeper produced another great full-length block to save Vini jnr.
But there was Richarlison, pouncing like a dog on a slice of fallen ham to goad the rebound and send the Lusail Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
They had waited long enough. Serb defiance was so stubborn that more and more people were probably wondering if they would even celebrate a goal from their heroes.
But you know what they say about London buses and all that? Well sure, same goals for Brazilian goals.
Because before we knew it, the samba stars had doubled their lead, the points signed and sealed, if not yet delivered, when the same man struck again.
And if his first was far from the best example of the beautiful game of archetypal purveyors, then the second definitely was.
Once again, Vini jnr was the provider, with a leap of pace down the left flank that became his trademark after just one game in Brazil.
As he shoved the ball into the dangerous area, RIcharlison’s first touch sent it flying – and his second was a great overhead volley that shot into the corner.
Nothing Vanja, even in full length, could do about it. And to be honest, it had to be something special to overwhelm him here.
True, the rapid-fire fist he threw up to prevent Neymar’s sinfully delivered corner from rolling straight into goal was routine. Certainly compared to the last of his exploits.
A chance that, incidentally, was fully aware since half of the Brazilian team seemed to be practicing it the other day at their Al Arabi training base,
But there was nothing standard about the Lightning Arrow from his lineage to pluck another from the feet of Vinicius after Thiago Silva’s most delicious slide rule deliveries.
Mind you, had Raphinha’s finish been anything like his teammates’ approach work, this game could have been finished and dusted before half-time.
The ex-Leeds man’s most notable miss was a tame, half-full lateral foot that didn’t have the same class as the double with Richarlison that created it.
And the longer it took, the more you began to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the five-time champions would pull a loophole – cruel as it would have been for them.
Anyway, it started to look like it when Alex finally passed Sandros Vanja only to see his effort rebound off the woodwork.
Obviously, Roberto Carlos isn’t the only full-back to don the famous yellow jersey and be able to hit a ball from long-range.
But the dam finally broke. Richarlison made sure of that. A fantastic finish all round…but boy do these moves need some work.