Brazil headed into its FIFA World Cup schedule as the favorites to leave Qatar with the tournament trophy and despite Serbia’s best efforts to frustrate Tite’s men on Thursday evening, the Brazilians picked up three points thanks to Richarlison’s heroics.
Richarlison scored twice for Brazil in the second half, including a stunning overhead kick in 2-0 victory over Serbia. The lone worry for Brazil was the second-half substitution of Neymar due to an apparent ankle injury.
After a lackluster first half between the two sides, Brazil began to up its pressure following halftime. Moments after Sandro rattled the crossbar from a long-range shot, Richarlison broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute.
Vinicius Junior’s shot was denied by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but Richarlison was in the right spot to slam home the rebound.
Not long after giving Brazil a 1-0 advantage, Richarlison gave the Conmebol representatives some breathing room thanks to a terrific individual effort. Vinicius’ cross into the box was controlled well by Richarlison, who took one touch before flicking a shot over his head and into the back of the net.
Alisson didn’t need to make a single save as Brazil moved to first place in Group G with the win. Brazil will next face Switzerland on Monday while Serbia takes on Cameroon earlier in the day.
Here is a full World Cup rewind from Thursday’s action:
Portugal 3, Ghana 2
(Cristiano Ronaldo 65′ pk’, Joao Felix 78′, Rafael Leao 80′) – (Andre Ayew 73′, Osman Bukari 89′)
Portugal received a tough test from Ghana in Group H action on Thursday, but did enough to get through 90 minutes with a 3-2 victory.
Joao Felix and Rafael Leao scored two minutes apart late in the second half to guide Portugal past the youngest squad in Qatar.
Portugal had the better of the offensive chances in the first half with Cristiano Ronaldo coming close to delivering the opening goal. His confident strike in the 31st minute nestled into the back of the net, but was waived off due to a foul in the build-up.
However, the former Manchester United forward would deliver the breakthrough goal in the 62nd minute from the penalty spot. Ghana centerback Mohammed Salisu bundled Ronaldo over in the box, allowing the longtime veteran to score from the spot for a 1-0 lead.
Ghana would answer back in the 73rd minute through Andre Ayew’s finish, giving the African side a lifeline. Mohammed Kudus’ low pass allowed the veteran striker the opportunity to poke home in the box.
Joao Felix regained the lead for Portugal in the 78th minute, receiving a brilliant pass from Bruno Fernandes and finishing past an onrushing Lawrence Ati-Zigi. Rafael Leao wasted little time in scoring his first international goal, benefitting from Fernandes’ assist to drill a show past Ati-Zigi and into the bottom-right corner.
Osman Bukari pulled one goal back for Ghana in the 89th minute, but it proved to be too little too late in the final scoreline. It was still a valiant effort from Ghana, who hung with one of the world’s best for 90 minutes.
Portugal faces Uruguay on Monday while Ghana takes on South Korea.
Switzerland 1, Cameroon 0
(Breel Embolo 48′)
Switzerland received an important three points on Thursday after grinding out a 1-0 victory against Cameroon.
Breel Embolo scored the lone goal of the match while Yann Sommer registered a five-save shutout in goal. Cameroon did well to create ample chances against the Swiss, but couldn’t find a way past the Borussia Moenchengladbach veteran.
Martin Hongla’s deadly effort in the 30th minute forced Sommer into his first key save of the match. Bryan Mbuemo played Hongla in towards goal before the Hellas Verona midfielder drilled a low shot that Sommer punched away.
Switzerland needed only three minutes to break the deadlock with Xherdan Shaqiri setting up Embolo for the opening goal. Shaqiri’s cross from the right wing allowed a wide-open Embolo the opportunity to connect past Andre Onana.
Switzerland continued to pressure Onana in goal, but had to settle for a one-goal victory against the African side.
Uruguay 0, South Korea 0
Uruguay and South Korea did their best to stay level with Portugal in the Group H, but neither could find a winning goal in a goal-less draw on Thursday.
Diego Godin had the best offensive opportunity in the first half as his header crashed against the post and kept the teams level.
Hwang Ui-Jo missed a good chance for South Korea, summing up a frustrating first half for both teams.
Uruguay came closest to snatching a winning goal in the final moments, but Federico Valverde’s long-range shot hit the left post. Son Heung-Min’s long range chance moments later missed wide of the right post, which was the final offensive chance for either team in the draw.