In what was a stunning display on Monday night, Brazil cruised their way to the quarter-finals of this year’s World Cup thanks to a thumping 4-1 romp against South Korea.
Laying down what was a remarkable marker at Stadium 974, the South American giants stormed their way to a 4-0 half-time lead following goals from Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta.
Although South Korea might have managed to snatch a consolation strike thanks to Paik Seung-ho’s sublime second-half effort, the Taegeuk Warriors failed to lay any kind of blow on a Selecao side that will find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high.
Putting in arguably the most dominant display from any country at this year’s World Cup finals so far, Brazil will now have their sights set on a quarter-final showdown against Croatia.
In a night when Tite’s superstars showed just what they’re capable of, we have taken a look at the main talking points.
Brazil underline why they’re the leading contender
While a heavily-altered Brazil side might have suffered a shock 1-0 loss against Cameroon in their final Group G last week, the South American icons certainly proved that was nothing more than a minor blip here.
Although Tite’s side might have been tipped as a standout pick on Monday night, few would have expected what was such an iconic flurry from the Selecao at Stadium 974.
Breezing their way to a 4-0 half-time lead and putting on a real clinic in Qatar, Brazil also demonstrated why many feel that this is their tournament to lose come December 18th.
Opening their World Cup adventure with back-to-back victories against Serbia and Switzerland, the five-time world champions have a squad that is stacked with European-based icons.
Knowing that they could have potentially racked up double digits here in what was almost a carnival atmosphere, Brazil would have also sent a real message to the remaining knockout stage nations.
Dancing their way to the quarter-finals and putting on this winter’s most lethal display so far, Tite’s side appear in pole position to claim their first World Cup trophy since 2002.
Neymar makes his return
Although Brazil might have announced that Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus has had to withdraw from their squad due to an ankle injury, it was another of Tite’s attacking superstars that had stolen most of the headlines prior to Monday’s meeting.
Limping off in Brazil’s 2-0 victory against Serbia on November 24th after suffering another ankle knock, there is no doubt that the South American giants were glad to welcome Neymar back to their squad here.
While there might have been some concerns over the past fortnight that the PSG talisman would not feature again this winter, the former Barcelona ace underlined his value to Tite’s squad at Stadium 974.
Bagging his first World Cup strike after cooly slotting home from the penalty spot after just 13 minutes, Neymar is also on the verge of making more Brazilian history this year.
With Tite stating prior to kick-off that his attacking icon was fully fit and raring to go, the 30-year-old now finds himself sat just a single strike behind equaling Pele’s all-time record of 77 goals for the Selecao.
A Croatian quarter-final on the cards
Avoiding what would have been an infamous World Cup upset on Monday night as they breezed their way to the quarter-finals, Brazil will simply be looking to build on that display later in the week.
Appearing to have really found top gear following their remarkable first-half flurry here, Tite’s side will now face a showdown against 2018 finalists Croatia on Friday.
Making the trip to the Education City Stadium with the mood in their camp at a red-hot high, Brazil could face a rugged test as they look to extend on their World Cup adventure in Al Rayyan.
Watching the European outfit mount a second-half comeback as they eventually edged their way past Japan thanks to a nail-biting penalty shootout, Brazil should be boosted by their rather rampant record against Croatia.
Including a 2-0 victory when they last met the Blazers for a friendly showdown back in 2018, it is worth noting that Tite’s contenders are unbeaten in all four of their battles against their fellow quarter-finalists.
Brazil: Alisson, Militao, Marquinhos, Silca, Danilo, Casemiro, Paqueta, Raphinha, Richarlison, Neymar, Vinicius Junior
Subs: Martinelli, Rodrygo, Weverton, Bremer, Alves
South Korea: Kim Seung-gyu, Kim Moon-hwan, Kim Min-jae, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Jin-su, Lee Jae-sung, Jung Woo-young, Hwang In-beom, Hwang Hee-chan, Cho Gue-sung, Son Heung-min
Subs: Hong Chul, Lee Kang-in, Son Jun-ho, Paik Seung-ho, Hwang Ui-joat
Goals: Brazil: Vinicius Junior (7′), Neymar (13′ Pen), Richarlison (29′), Paqueta (36′) – South Korea: Paik Seung-Ho (76′)
Yellow Cards: Jung Woo-Young
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Clement Turpin