After a goalless first half, the world number 1 gave it its best in the second half to surpass Serbia, which eventually seemed out of depth. Brazil broke the deadlock when Richarlison scored from close range in the 62nd minute, before the striker added a spectacular bicycle kick to double the lead 11 minutes later.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker has been in fine form this year wearing Brazil’s golden yellow kit and opened the scoring with an easy tap before doubling the lead with his acrobatic effort.
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Tite’s decision to go with four forwards – NeymarVinicius Jr., Raphinha and Richarlison – in his attacking line-up paid off as the South Americans dominated the game and made Serbia work hard every time they went forward.
Vinicius used his acceleration well to beat his man consistently, while Neymar, playing in a free role, often found space, but a well-practiced Serbian defense 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 line-up.
🇧🇷 A brace from Richarlison gives Brazil three points against Serbia@adidasfootball | #FIFA world cup
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) 1669323362000
Unlike the Brazil attacker, who threatened from all sides, the Fulham striker found himself isolated up front with little service.
The second half was a one-way street as Brazil shifted gears, Richarlison and Neymar squandered gilt-edged chances in the box and Alex Sandro and Casemiro directs long-range efforts against the woodwork.
The breakthrough came just after the hour of brilliant work from Neymar to find Vinicius, whose first shot was saved by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but Richarlison was in the right place to tap the rebound for his first World Cup goal.
Playing conservatively up to that point, Serbia had no choice but to move forward, giving Brazil more space and Richarlison’s second goal brought about the biggest roar of the evening from the Brazilian contingent.
Richarlison! What have you done?! 🤯#FIFAWorldCup | @richarlison97 https://t.co/kCKFdlINXq
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As Richarlison tried to control a cross from Vinicius, the ball came over his head and he leapt into the air to hit a bicycle kick home to seal the win for Brazil.
Brazil’s dominance was such that they made an impressive 22 attempts on goal in the game with eight on target, while Serbia failed to hit the target in their five attempts. Brazil now jumped to the top of the group standings with victory.
Switzerland are second in the group after beating Cameroon 1-0 and Serbia at the bottom.
(With input from agencies)