Richarlison was the hero, scoring a stunning acrobatic goal as Brazil made a winning start to their World Cup campaign.
Richarlison scored twice as Brazil opened their World Cup campaign with a routine 2-0 win over Serbia.
The Tottenham striker broke the deadlock with a close-range finish just after the hour mark at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Richarlison then sealed the points with a stunning acrobatic effort 17 minutes from time as Tite’s side won Group G.
The Selecao remained unbeaten in their inaugural finals match since 1934 when they lost 3-1 to Spain in the first round.
Unbeaten in their last 15 World Cup group games, Brazil controlled the first half but did not create many scoring opportunities.
Casemiro tested Vanja Milinkovic-Savic with an ambitious effort from distance, while the Serbian goalkeeper was quickly off his line to prevent Vinicius Junior from latching on to Thiago Silva’s pinpoint through ball.
The Selecao opened up the opposition defense in the 35th minute with a neat one-two between Raphinha and Lucas Paqueta, but the Barcelona forward could only fire straight at Milinkovic-Savic.
Brazil carried the greater threat after the break. Milinkovic-Savic saved Serbia by denying Raphinha, who dispossessed Nemanja Gudelje outside his own penalty area as Neymar fired wide.
Alex Sandro rattled the bar from 30 yards before the Samba Boys finally broke through in the 62nd minute; Richarlison nudged home the rebound after Milinkovic-Savic parried Vinicius’ initial effort.
Richarlison then gave Brazil breathing room in emphatic fashion 11 minutes later; controlled Vinicio’s low, hard cross with his left foot, then turned and sent a wonderful acrobatic volley into the bottom corner with his right.
Tite’s side almost extended their lead when Casemiro hit the crossbar and Milinkovic-Savic denied Rodrygo, but a two-goal difference was enough to see them top of Group G.
1. Brazil (4-2-3-1)
GK: Alisson – 6/10 – Didn’t have a whole lot to do.
RB: Danilo – 5/10 – Defensively sound but games like this require more in attack.
CB: Thiago Silva – 8/10 – Did everything he needed at the back and operated like a quarterback in possession, picking apart Serbia’s defence with ease.
CB: Marquinhos – 7/10 – Equally as comfortable as his defensive partner. Will be relieved to have avoided a battle with Mitrovic.
LB: Alex Sandro – 5/10 – Needed to do so much more down the left wing.
DM: Casemiro – 8/10 – Sublime passing range. Didn’t have a lot of defending to do so had all the freedom in the world to flash his more creative side.
DM: Lucas Paqueta – 7/10 – Didn’t play as deep as his role would suggest as he had plenty of opportunities to pull the strings in midfield.
RM: Raphinha – 4/10 – Ran into a few dead ends and guilty of some really underwhelming shots on goal. Didn’t really look up for it against Serbia’s bruising defenders.
AM: Neymar – 6/10 – Targeted by plenty of fouls but dropped deeper in the second half to try and orchestrate things a little better. Made some questionable decisions at times.
LM: Vinicius Junior – 8/10 – A constant menace down the left and walked away with a couple of assists.
ST: Richarlison – 7/10 – Incredibly quiet before his goals but looked a massive threat after the break.
SUB: Fred (75′ for Paqueta) – 6/10
SUB: Rodrygo (75′ for Vinicius) – 7/10
SUB: Antony (79′ for Neymar) – 6/10
SUB: Gabriel Jesus (79′ for Richarlison) – 6/10
SUB: Gabriel Martinelli (87′ for Raphinha) – N/A
Manager: Tite – 7/10 – Criticised online by fans who didn’t see the value in substituting his top players when the game was already won. Made a number of smart calls here.
2. Serbia (3-5-1-1)
GK: Vanja Milinkovic-Savic – 7/10 – Flew off his line to make a brave challenge on Vinicius Junior in the first half. Commanded his box.
CB: Milos Veljkovic – 6/10 – A few desperate blocks at times but you can’t fault the effort.
CB: Nikola Milenkovic – 7/10 – A real monster against Brazil’s forwards in the first half. Unfortunate to lose his clean sheet.
CB: Strahinja Pavlovic – 7/10 – Wasn’t scared of Raphinha’s pace whatsoever. Went toe-to-toe with him and almost always came out on top.
RM: Andrija Zivkovic – 5/10 – Did a solid job defensively but his lack of movement in attack ensured Serbia remained on the back foot for the first hour.
CM: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – 6/10 – Had a few delicious runs from deep but was largely kept out of things by Casemiro.
CM: Nemanja Gudelj – 7/10 – His yellow card early in the second half changed the tone of the game as he couldn’t maintain his impressive defensive levels.
CM: Sasa Lukic – 6/10 – Did a decent defensive job. Seemed determined to rip Neymar’s shirt off at times.
LM: Filip Mladenovic – 4/10 – His lack of attacking output was a massive issue before his substitution.
AM: Dusan Tadic – 5/10 – Had the odd nice moment but couldn’t get as involved as he’s used to at club level.
ST: Aleksandar Mitrovic – 2/10 – Starved of service but didn’t do a whole lot to help himself.
SUB: Ivan Ilic (57′ for Gudelj) – 5/10
SUB: Nemanja Radonjic (57′ for Zivkovic) – 5/10
SUB: Dusan Vlahovic (66′ for Mladenovic) – 5/10
SUB: Darko Lazovic (66′ for Lukic) – 5/10
SUB: Nemanja Maksimovic (83′ for Mitrovic) – N/A
Manager: Dragan Stojkovic – 5/10 – Tried to set his side up to be tough to beat but couldn’t come up with a way to live with Brazil. Seemed to be chasing shadows in the second half as he changed systems.