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 were four goals up inside 36 minutes – only the second time in their World Cup history they have scored four times in the first half of a match – in a one-sided tie.
Neymar returned to Brazil’s line-up – back to full strength after their 1-0 loss to Cameroon – and he netted from the penalty spot after Vinicius Junior had opened the scoring.
Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta put the game well out of reach and there was no way back for South Korea, though they did have a moment to savour courtesy of Paik Seung-ho’s goal in the second half.
Raphinha pulled the ball back for Vinicius to curl into the top-right corner after seven minutes and Brazil had a quickfire second goal when Neymar converted from the penalty spot.
Richarlison won that penalty after being caught by Jung Woo-young, and he was himself among the goals when finishing after Thiago Silva picked him out with a first-time pass.
Brazil were completely out of sight by the interval as Paqueta rounded off another fine attack that culminated in Vinicius clipping the ball into his path to volley home.
A double change at the interval led to an improved display from South Korea, who after forcing Alisson into a few saves scored through a long-range Paik strike that took a deflection.
What does it mean? Samba stars put on a show
Brazil toiled for large parts of their wins over Serbia and Switzerland prior to suffering a shock defeat to Cameroon, but back at full strength here they laid down a real marker.
South Korea’s first knockout-stage game in this competition since 2010 could not have gone much worse, with Tite’s men out of sight well before half-time.
Five-time winners Brazil have advanced from their past eight World Cup last-16 ties and will now face 2018 beaten finalists Croatia, who earlier defeated Japan on penalties.
Brazil find their scoring touch
Brazil scored a rather underwhelming three goals from 57 shots in the group stage, compared to three goals from their first five efforts against South Korea.
The Selecao were a lot more clinical than they were in the first round, though their opponents’ set-up also played right into their hands – a mistake Croatia will surely not make.
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Returning Neymar back among the goals
Neymar was back in the side after missing the past two games through injury and he registered his 76th goal for Brazil, placing him one short of Pele’s all-time record.
The Paris Saint-Germain superstar, whose past six goals for the Selecao have come from the penalty spot, will look to match and surpass the Brazil great in Qatar.
Brazil have that quarter-final tie with Croatia to look forward to in Al Rayyan on Friday, while South Korea’s campaign in Qatar is now over.
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