DOHA, Qatar — Even the coach was dancing.
Wearing a dark suit as he stalked the grass in front of Brazil’s bench, Tite allowed himself to be engulfed by his players as they cavorted in celebration around him, joining them eventually with a wiggle of his shoulders and hips. There have been still greater than quarter-hour left in the primary half.
That’s how carefree a game it was for Brazil, how much joy it took in dismantling an outmatched South Korea squad within the round of 16 on a balmy Monday night in Doha. The Brazilians repeated the identical pattern all night — coldblooded goal, comfortable dance — until the ultimate whistle blew to finish their fun. The lopsided rating, 4-1, in some way didn’t fully capture the team’s dominance.
Brazil’s display, even with South Korea providing only mild resistance to the outburst of collective skill, surely cemented its status as certainly one of the favorites to lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy on Dec. 18. Brazil plays next on Friday against Croatia within the quarterfinal round, and it can be favored to win that game, too.
The goal that got Tite, 61, doing his jig was the team’s third, which materialized from the foot of his striker, Richarlison, in certainly one of the best displays of individual wizardry within the tournament to this point.
Tussling with a South Korean defender just outside the penalty area, Richarlison bounced the ball 3 times off his head in a trendy effort to maintain possession. Finally, he brought the ball down, shimmied right into a little bit of open space, and knocked it over to a teammate. The ball was already on its way back to him as he sprinted toward the goal, and all he needed to do was slide it past Kim Seung-gyu, South Korea’s goalkeeper.
“I’m very comfortable with our coach,” Richarlison said of his sideline dance through an interpreter. “We rehearsed the celebration together on the hotel. And I used to be really comfortable we had the possibility to do it with him.”
It was the third goal of the tournament for Richarlison, who has used the massive stage to announce himself as one of the exciting attacking players on this planet.
But it surely was not only Richarlison and Tite joyfully shuffling their feet on Monday. The Brazilians were dancing all night.
Vinícius Júnior, Raphinha, Lucas Paquetá and Neymar celebrating a goal. They’d a likelihood to check out several recent routines.Credit…Manu Fernandez/Associated Press
There was Vinícius Júnior, leading three of his teammates in a coordinated jig near the left corner flag, after scoring Brazil’s first goal within the seventh minute.
There was Neymar, taking a central role in an impromptu mosh pit after scoring the team’s second on a penalty within the thirteenth.
There was Lucas Paquetá, tap dancing furiously by himself in the appropriate corner, tearing up the grass with a sober look on his face, after slotting home the fourth within the thirty sixth.
It was, in all, a powerful return to form for the Brazilians, who lost their final group-stage match against Cameroon last week while rotating much of their roster.
The one individuals who weren’t smiling on Monday, then, were the South Koreans. The sport for them should have been a harsh awakening so soon after the euphoria of their final group-stage game, when a shocking injury-time goal catapulted them into the knockout round.
Paik Seung-ho scored South Korea’s only goal.Credit…Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Against Brazil, they looked decidedly average. Their one goal was spectacular, drilled by Paik Seung-ho from well outside the penalty area within the 76th minute. But they struggled otherwise to realize any kind of a foothold against Brazil’s relentless quality.
Their only other consolation — if it could possibly be called that — was that they forced the Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson to make his first save of your entire tournament. He made a complete of 5 before being subbed out late within the second half.
“I feel it has led to a very reasonable manner,” said Paulo Bento, the coach of South Korea. “We’ve got to congratulate Brazil because they were higher than us.”
For Brazil, the nice and cozy feelings began well before the opening whistle.
Stadium 974, which sits on Doha’s humid waterfront, was still just filling up when the primary big cheer of the night rang out across the stands. Emerging out of the tunnel and onto the crisp green field, sporting a newly blond hairdo and glistening diamonds on his earlobes, was Neymar, who had missed the Brazilians’ previous two games after injuring his right ankle of their opening match.
Brazil, as the following 90 minutes would show, boasts a wondrous assemblage of talent, with a squad composed of among the world’s finest players. But a lot still revolves around Neymar, the mercurial playmaker from São Paulo. He was the person every fan desired to see.
South Korea’s Son Heung-min attempted to attain past Brazil’s goalkeeper Alisson.Credit…Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Neymar looked mostly like his usual self, gliding across the grass with the ball, unbalancing defenders along with his slinky moves.
“I can’t be 100% satisfied with today’s game,” said Neymar, who noted that he felt no pain in his ankle. “We’d like to aim for more. We’d like to grow.”
But for the remaining teams on this tournament, the scary thing about Brazil might not be the return of Neymar, however the emergence of so many sparkling talents around him. As a gaggle, they can be seeking to keep the dancing going deep into the tournament.