Richarlison’s balletic barnstormer is a great Brazil World Cup moment

The striker’s second goal was magical, and as a result of the attack’s restructuring, Neymar might find fresh life.

Perhaps a little arrogantly, the Lusail Stadium, the enormous and astounding mothership of this competition, insists on referring to itself as Iconic. Before the lone pre-World Cup event of its existence, an unpleasant test event where, ironically, there wasn’t enough water, it was iconic. All right. Maybe in the future, every stadium will have its 15 minutes of fame.

However, the Lusail did host an authentic moment here, one of those instantly fixed and screen-printed World Cup happenings, a goal for the montage, the expertly sketched animation; and in a roundabout way, an indication that the World Cup will continue to be the World Cup no matter how much you stretch it thin, compromise it, or fudge its outline.

It was the second goal in Brazil’s controlled, 2-0 triumph, and it was scored in a flash of quick stillness, explosive calm, and violent perfection.

By slicing in from the left, Vinicius Junior delivered the pass. Richarlison was near the location for the penalty. He had enough room to pivot and shoot, but the ball landed at his feet a little bit too quickly. Red shirts were closing in when the initial touch sent it straight up in a loop.

Richarlison completed a thrilling mid-air jump-volley, catching the ball flush and sweet to send it zinging into the near corner of the Serbia goal. This was the real magic of the finish. Richarlison let the ball drop over one shoulder, then swiveled under its arc, letting it drop out of his line of sight.

Simply put, it was a brilliant finish, a goal conjured from thin air, and a display of creative physical ballet. As the ball hit the goal, there was a shout, a roar, and a sort of gurgle heard throughout the stadium. Then, a sea of yellow writhed in the corner as the players formed the traditional bouncing scrum of love.

And this was one of those deep cuts—the Richarlison flip, a sofa-leap finish, a grazed elbow at halftime—a World Cup moment that people will try to imitate. It felt like a rough sketch of something real at this most surreal of global spectacles, a dictator ball for the cameras.

In other aspects, this game was important for Brazil’s offense. In the second half, Richarlison was a consistent high-grade annoyance and razor-sharp in front of the goal. Vinicius contributed to both goals, leading one to wonder if this was the greatest method to bring out the best in Neymar.

Never depend on Neymar. Keep Neymar from dictating the game’s course. Neymar should be held back in part. Additionally, it felt timely. At the eighty-minute mark, Neymar left the field. He subsequently returned, limping severely, with an apparent swollen ankle. The Brazilian medical staff mentioned a “direct trauma” as a result of one of Serbia’s nine fouls after the game. Tite announced, “Neymar will participate in the World Cup.” The good news is that it might not be fatal if Neymar misses a game from here on out for the first time since he started competing in World Cups.

Additionally, advancement for the individual. Neymar has talked about how this could be his final World Cup, how he sometimes has trouble dealing with certain things, and how the pressure wears him down. It might even be pretty uplifting in a peculiar way—a rational response to his unreasonable reality.

From the Jesus complex, World Cup in 2014 to the super-brat character in 2018, when he essentially established a new tactical form, tantrum-ball, Gegen-whinging, both of his previous World Cups have been peculiar. Speaking of self-defense: perhaps this signals a change in direction. Brazil needs Neymar to succeed. But he also contributed to the team here.

At kickoff, there was a noticeable crackling of electricity inside the Iconic. Another tribute to the ghosts of workers who have died away and to the icy hard edge of Qatar’s drive to power, it is an insanely stunning lit box. It has the appearance of a huge extraterrestrial potpourri basket from the outside. The stands inside are so steep that you can feel the noise bouncing around as the cold synthetic air spirals out of the enormous and magnificent howling-mouth roof hole.

Richarlison and Raphinha were prepared to track down and press while Neymar dribbled in Tite’s attacking lineup. With a high front four and a slightly overworked middle, it was occasionally a strange shape. Fortunately, Casemiro recently underwent intense instruction in balancing a listing ship.

Vinicius appeared to be the Brazilian attack’s sharpest edge for a spell, his feet pounding the ground like he was always playing on one of Doha’s several high-end moving walkways.

Brazil played cautiously in the opening period against a capable, well-prepared Serbia team. But Neymar was instrumental in the game’s opening goal. Vinicius on the left was given the ball by his run, which included a surge from a standing start, a jink, a stop, and a surge past two opponents. Richarlison was waiting to gleefully complete the play after his low shot was palmed out.

By the time the game was through, Brazil had taken over, pinging in shots, hitting the woodwork, and swarming in packs. This was Richie’s day, but it was also a day to let go of a little of the past Neymar dependence. Icons can be cumbersome and bulky. Here, Brazil seemed a little paler. They allowed us some time. In conclusion, they appeared to be worthy favorites.

Perhaps a little pretentiously, Lusail Stadium, the enormous and amazing mothership of this competition, insists on dubbing itself the Iconic. It was Iconic before the sole pre-World Cup competition of its existence, an awkward test match that famously lacked water. All right. Maybe in the future, every stadium will have its 15 minutes of fame.

However, the Lusail was hosting an authentic moment here, one of those instantly fixed and Screenprinted World Cup events, a goal for the montage, the expertly sketched animation, and in its unique way, a sign that the World Cup will always be the World Cup, regardless of how much you pull it thin, compromise it, or distort its contours.