|Receiving country: Qatar Dates: November 20-December 18 Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day by day television – Full coverage details|
Brazil coach Tite didn’t have the slickest dance moves of the night, but the sight of the well-dressed elder statesman twirling on the touchline with his players epitomized this football carnival.
Tite cut an inconsistent figure among his players, but he couldn’t resist joining in the collective samba as Brazil set the biggest marker of this World Cup with a shock win over South Korea on Friday to reach the quarter-finals with Croatia.
And it was an inspired moment for Tite, 61, as Brazil produced some of the best football of the tournament in a 4-1 victory.
Richarlison had just become Qatar’s top scorer, scoring Brazil’s third goal after 29 minutes of the first half in a second that will live long in the memory.
It was a pin-point miracle that went over the edge of the area.
The Tottenham forward juggled the ball three times with his head and once with his feet, then dropped it to Marquinhos.
He fed Thiago Silva and his first-time cross ran to Richarlison, who South Korea goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu deserved last year.
If Richarlison’s acrobatic bicycle kick against Serbia was magical, this one might just have been surpassed by his brilliant mix of brilliance.
As with all of Brazil’s first-half football, it was poetry in motion. It said, “We’re here. Can you stop us?”
All this and the return of Neymar.
Despite injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles, Brazil have not been in a good position to reach the last eight.
Neymar was the star act when he returned from an ankle problem, but he had to share the attack here with teammates Richarlison and Vinicius Junior.
Vinicius showed his class when he put Brazil ahead after seven minutes, and Neymar was soon on his way, but Riverdance’s foot on his stuttering kick unnecessarily awarded him a penalty. That left him behind Pele’s record of 77 goals for his country.
West Ham United’s Lucas Paqueta scored a stunning fourth before half-time from Vinicius’ cross to allow Brazil to keep the energy going for Croatia.
Brazil are taking it easy this World Cup, even losing to Cameroon in the group stage, but were the better side at full strength for the first 45 minutes and sent a message to their opponents that they could equal – at the very least – win the trophy.
It wasn’t just a performance, it was an outpouring of Brazilian joy. Such football is their national emblem.
Brazil even allowed their best keeper Alisson 10 minutes to spare as Tite sent on third-choice Weverton to start. This means Brazil are the first team to use all 26 players at this World Cup.
He even allowed Dad’s veteran coach to dance, but the pre-arranged dance moves after the goals went on so long that many observers wondered if it was showing disrespect to their opponents.
Instead, their joy was natural as Brazil played with freedom of expression in their country’s finest traditions.
Whether it was a corner flag or Tite, Brazil’s players were so attached to their joy that they were happy to accept anything as a dance partner.
Neymar’s presence has revived their early work, with teammates looking for the returning superstar. He had 81 minutes in the tank before being replaced by Rodrigo.
With the goal, Neymar became the third Brazilian to score in at least three World Cups in 2014, 2018 and 2022.
Pelé scored four goals in 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970, while Ronaldo scored three goals in 1998, 2002 and 2006.
To add to the idea that Brazil have the strongest team in Qatar, Allison showed why he is one of the world’s elite goalkeepers, making some fine saves in the second half.
This is a scary prospect for Croatia and everyone else they will meet here. Brazil have the attacking power to beat anyone, and if you can get past the other end, Liverpool’s outstanding goalkeeper will be a huge obstacle.
Titus’ team looks at the complete package.
Brazil reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the eighth time and dedicated this game to Pele, who is in the hospitalthey carried a large banner bearing the name of the 82-year-old as they passed the final whistle.
Pele will appreciate the gesture and he would certainly nod in approval of Brazil’s performance in this World Cup’s biggest message.
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