Brazil’s Richarlison scores highlight reel goal in World Cup win


LUSAIL, Qatar — Just when you might start to wonder if the enticing idea of ​​Brazil overrides the more grinding reality, the Brazilians might remind that they always reserve the right to go and do something that’ll make your eyes just about pop out of your head.

That’s what happened Thursday night, when the goal of the nascent World Cup graced Lusail Stadium two days after the upset of the ages had done likewise. It happened on 73 minutes. It cemented Brazil’s 2-0 opening win over Serbia. It came from Richarlison, the 25-year-old who has been doing a lot of scoring lately. It made people gasp and holler when they hadn’t even planned on gasping and hollering.

It wreaked a stadium noise that sustained itself for longer than such noises tend to do. That lingering noise carried the unmistakable sound of wonder.

The starriest of the World Cup star teams, Brazil, finally had debuted at this 22nd men’s World Cup, the 22nd for which Brazil has qualified. That reliable old electric yellow had filled the spotless new metro cars and shiny new metro stations and dazzling new stadium on Thursday night, accompanied by the customary singing loudness in the usual outpouring of anticipation. The crowds had emptied out to Lusail Stadium, the futuristic structure that at night resembled a lit-up soap dish.

They saw Brazil, the tournament favorite sort of by default, slog around some with a more than capable Serbia through a first half without many wows and post-halftime period of Brazilian pressure which had begun to gather itself. They saw a goal at last on 62 minutes, when Vinícius Júnior, the 22-year-old marvel of Real Madrid employment, corralled a ball of which Neymar had lost track on the left edge of the box and it suddenly banged on the goal, where keeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic sprawled to save it before Richarlison poked it in easily.

That made it 1-0, but that wasn’t what people will carry in the memory banks.

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No, that came 11 minutes later, and it hinged upon Vinicius Júnior’s creation yet again. He operated from the left wing yet again, of course, and this time he slid a seeing-eye ball through a tight corridor of human obstacles. It found its way through to Richarlison, and then came the whoa.

Richarlison fielded it with his left foot and ticked it airborne. Then he wheeled around, twirled his body and bicycle’d it right-footed. It seared maybe not even an inch over the left shoulder of Serbian defender Milos Veljkovic, as Richarlison’s fliling boot nearly nudged Veljkovic’s head. It kept its screaming line and hurried in just inside the left post, with Milinkovic-Savic as helpless in his late lurch as would have been anyone.

For the second time in a brief spell, what looked like the entire Brazilian team and maybe even some people not on the team massed in the corner for a heaving celebration, and Group G had gotten underway with the Brazilians tied with the Swiss on three points. . It would serve as an ideal start toward Brazil’s bid to win the World Cup for the first time in 20 years and hike its record total of five titles to six, and, in one gasping swoop, would remind that the reality of Brazil does sometimes just about measure up to the idea.

This story will be updated.

World Cup in Qatar

Live updates: The last eight teams to make their debuts in Qatar take the field Thursday in Group G and Group H games. Follow along for the latest news, updates and highlights.

USMNT: In their return to the World Cup, the young Americans settled for a 1-1 draw against Wales in their Group B opener. The US men’s national team will face a taller task Friday against Group B favorite England, which demolished Iran, 6-2, earlier Monday.

Qatar controversy: Soccer fans wearing the rainbow, a symbol of LGBTQ inclusivity, have said they were refusing entry into World Cup stadiums and confronted by members of the public to remove the emblem.

Groups guide: The US men’s national soccer team, led by Coach Gregg Berhalter and star forward Christian Pulisic, qualified for the 2022 World Cup, an improvement from its disastrous and unsuccessful 2018 campaign. Here’s a close look at how all of the teams in each group stack up.

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