Neymar was among the goals on his return to the side as Brazil thumped South Korea 4-1 in Monday’s World Cup last-16 tie.
Brazil produced the best display of Qatar 2022 so far with an emphatic 4-1 victory over South Korea at Stadium 974 on Monday to set up a quarter-final tie with Croatia.
The Selecao led by four goals in 36 minutes – only the second time in World Cup history they scored four times in the first half of a match – in a one-sided draw.
Neymar returned to the Brazil line-up – back to full strength after their 1-0 loss to Cameroon – and scored from the penalty spot after Vinicius Junior had opened the scoring.
Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta put the game out of reach and there was no way back for South Korea, although they had a moment to savor Paik Seung-ho’s second-half goal.
Raphinha pulled the ball back after seven minutes for Vinicius to curl into the top right corner and Brazil had a second goal when Neymar converted the penalty.
Richarlison won a penalty after being caught by Jung Woo-young and was among the goals himself with a finish after Thiago Silva picked him out with a first-time pass.
Brazil were completely out of sight on the break as Paqueta rounded off another brilliant attack which culminated in Vinicius clipping the ball into the path of a volley.
A double change at the break led to a better display from South Korea, who, after forcing Alisson into several saves, scored with Paik’s long-range strike deflected in.
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Brazil struggled for large parts of their wins over Serbia and Switzerland before suffering a shock defeat to Cameroon, but back at full strength they set a real marker here.
South Korea’s first knockout game in the competition since 2010 could not have gone much worse as Tite’s men faded from view long before half-time.
Five-time winners Brazil advanced from their last eight World Cup last 16 matches and will now face 2018 losers Croatia, who earlier beat Japan on penalties.
Brazil player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Alisson – 7/10 – Brazil were dominant but Alisson still had to be called into action on a few occasions, making a string of fine saves. Brought off for Weverton in the last ten minutes ensuring every member of the squad has played at least once.
RB: Eder Militao – 6/10 – His job was made easier by Son starting up front and Hwang taking all of his shots from distance.
CB: Marquinhos – 8/10 – Stepped into midfield with ease and kept Son quiet (even blocking a goal-bound shot of his when he actually forged a chance).
CB: Thiago Silva – 9/10 – Showed off his excellent range of passing at both ends of the pitch while making sure Cho couldn’t get into the game.
LB: Danilo – 6/10 – Looked fit and fresh after returning from an ankle injury. Barely tested and didn’t put a foot wrong.
CM: Casemiro – 8/10 – Broke up play and while he looked wasteful on the ball early on, he quickly grew into the game and steamrolled his way through midfield.
CM: Lucas Paqueta – 9/10 – Brought flair and energy to the midfield battle, waltzing his way through to goal and caressing in Brazil’s fourth.
RM: Raphinha – 8/10 – Clearly wasn’t fazed by his early pass straight out of play. Came back stronger with a twisting-and-turning display coming in off the right.
AM: Neymar – 8/10 – The perfect game for Neymar having just returned from a nasty ankle injury, playing at his own pace because he was afforded the right to.
LM: Vinicius Junior – 9/10 – It was a wonder why Vinicius had only scored once for Brazil prior to tonight. With his second in the bank and a wonderful all-round display to boot, he’ll surely kick on as a Selecao icon.
CF: Richarlison – 9/10 – Hard to believe that he isn’t a nailed on starter at club level, particularly with a positional rival on the other side tonight. Embodied ‘joga bonito’ and was worthy of the moniker ‘R9’.
Dani Alves (63′ for Militao) – 5/10
Bremer (72′ for Danilo) – 5/10
Gabriel Martinelli (72′ for Vinicius) – 5/10
Weverton (80′ for Alisson) – N/A
Rodrygo (81′ for Neymar) – N/A
Tite – 9/10 – Sometimes criticised for not getting the most out of his flair players, Tite deserves his flowers for inspiring such a classic performance. Even joined in with Richarlison’s dancing.
South Korea player ratings (4-4-2)
GK: Kim Seung-gyu – 3/10 – Made to look a fool by Neymar on the penalty and also conceded several other goals from open play.
RB: Kim Moon-hwan – 3/10 – Had the thankless task of trying to slow down Vinicius. It did not end well.
CB: Kim Min-jae – 2/10 – Made some strange decisions to stay or go. Did little to help organise a haphazard defence.
CB: Kim Young-gwon – 3/10 – Pulled to-and-fro by Richarlison and Neymar.
LB: Kim Jin-su – 4/10 – His life was made difficult by Raphinha but he at least showed some endeavour going forward. Was hooked at the break, mind.
RM: Lee Jae-sung – 3/10 – Found it very hard to get in the game, which is damning considering he should have tested Danilo on his return from injury.
CM: Hwang In-beom – 2/10 – Like Kim Min-jae at the back, Hwang was often guilty of overcommitting and allowing Brazil to run past him at will.
CM: Jung Woo-young – 2/10 – Gave away a penalty and was generally off the pace. Withdrawn at half-time.
LM: Hwang Hee-chan – 5/10 – His shots, though from a long way out, were at least mildly threatening.
CF: Cho Gue-sung – 4/10 – Failed to impose his physical superiority as he did in the group stages.
CF: Son Heung-min – 4/10 – Bento’s decision to play Son centrally was strange, making it harder for him to get in the game. Squandered a good chance at the start of the second half but the game was already gone by then.
Chul Hong (46′ for Kim J.S.) – 4/10
Son Joon-ho (46′ for Jung W.Y.) – 5/10
Paik Seung-ho (65′ for Hwang I.B.) – 7/10
Lee Kang-in (74′ for Lee J.S.) – 4/10
Hwang Ui-jo (80′ for Cho G.S.) – N/A
Paulo Bento – 3/10 – South Korea were completely overawed and overrun. They were set up to fail by Bento’s tactics or simply didn’t listen to him.