In what was a repeat of the 2016 final out in Rio, Brazil managed to once again get one over on Germany as they opened this summer’s Olympic adventure with an action-packed win in Tokyo.
Opening Group D tipped as a landslide pick to cruise their way to the later stages, the South American giants run rampant at an empty Yokohama Stadium as they picked up what was an emphatic 4-2 win on Thursday lunchtime.
Looking to claim back-to-back gold medals after Neymar’s heroics on home soil five years ago, a first-half hat-trick from Everton ace Richarlison was enough to wrap up proceedings against a German side that did try to rally in the second 45.
Finally wrapping up the game with just moments remaining and dominating from the opening whistle, we have taken a look at the major talking points as Brazil’s youngsters opened this summer’s Olympics with a real flurry.
Brazil lay down their marker
Opening the first whistle with an extremely high press and pinning Germany back from minute one, Brazil only underlined why they are once again tipped as a leading contender to defend their Olympic crown this summer.
Placed at 3/1 with Betfair to make it back-to-back gold medals at this year’s delayed tournament, the Seleção bossed the game from the opening exchanges and they certainly laid down a marker to the likes of France and Spain.
Led out by veteran defender and former Barcelona right-back Dani Alves, The Yellows only created a string of chances throughout their Group D opener in Yokohama and Head Coach André Jardine would have been largely impressed by his side’s display.
However, while Brazil’s attacking talisman might have run rampant in the final third, fans back home would have been concerned by what could have been a heartbreaking collapse for the defending champions.
Eventually shipping two goals in a sluggish second-half performance and almost left red-faced after missing a long list of clear-cut chances, it is hard to argue that Jardine’s side were not more than the worthy winner on Thursday lunchtime.
Richarlison steals the show
While Bayer Leverkusen winger Paulinho might have finally wrapped up the game with his clinical finish late into injury-time, there is no doubt that one man, in particular, will be stealing most of the headlines back home.
Despite failing to help the senior Seleção side claim Copa America glory earlier in the month, Richarlison was on top form from the opening whistle and ran the German defence ragged with what was a hugely impressive display.
Tipped prior to this summer’s Olympics as the man who would replicate Neymar and guide Brazil to back-to-back gold medals, the one-time Watford man couldn’t be stopped in the first-half as he headed down the town with the match ball.
Opening the scoring with just seven minutes on the clock following Antony’s wonderful slipped pass, Brazil’s MVP tapped his initially rebounded effort into an empty net and relished his role playing through the middle.
Adding to his tally just 15 minutes later with a bullet header from point-blank range, Richarlison wrapped up his hat-trick with a brilliant bending effort past Santos with half an hour played.
Defensive embarrassment for Germany
Although Germany might have managed to shock many as both Nadiem Amiri and late substitute Ragnar Ache bagged second-half goals, it does not cover what was a nightmare Group D opener for the 2016 Olympic silver medalists.
While Head Coach Stefan Kuntz might have received a string of praise after leading Germany’s U21’s to a pair of European Championships, his squad looked nervy from the opening whistle and their overall display would have been a real eye-opener.
With young Arminia Bielefeld central defender Amos Pieper enduring a calamitous first-half and almost handing Richarlison a fourth thanks to an under-hit back header, The Whites were played off the pitch in the opening session.
However, although Kuntz’s decision to switch to a three at the back at half-time might have offered Germany some much-needed protection, the dismissal of skipper Maximilian Arnold 15 minutes after the restart was the final nail in their coffin.
With the Wolfsburg veteran failing to make any kind of mark in the middle of midfield, the 27-year-old was shown a second yellow card after a clash of knees with Dani Alves.
Brazil U23: Santos (5.5), Alves (8), Nino (6), Diego Carlos (7), Arana (7), Luiz (6), Bruno (7.5), Antony (8), Claudinho (7.5), Richarlison (10), Cunha (5)
Subs: Malcolm (6), Paulinho (7.5), Reinier (7),
Germany U23: Muller (8), Henrichs (4), Pieper (1), Uduokhai (3), Raum (4.5), Arnold (2), Statch (4), Maier (3.5), Richter (4), Kruse (3.5), Amiri (6.5)
Subs: Torunarigha (6), Ache (7.5), Loewen (5), Teuchert (4.5), Schlotterbeck (5)
Goals: Brazil: Richarlison 7′, 22′, 30′, Paulinho 90+4′ – Germany: Amiri 57′, Ache 84′
Yellow Cards: Brazil: Luiz – Germany: Pieper, Arnold, Stach, Henrichs, Torunarigha
Red Cards: Arnold
Referee: Ivan Arcides Barton
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