Brazil thrashed Serbia 2-0 in their World Cup opener on Thursday as a second-half goal, including a superb overhead kick from Richardson, put the five-time champions top of Group G.
The Tottenham Hotspur forward has been in fine form this year wearing the golden yellow kit of Brazil, and he opened the scoring with a simple tap-in before doubling the lead with his acrobatic effort.
The Brazilian coach’s going with four forwards – Neymar, Vinicius Junior, Rafinha and Richardson – in his offensive lineup paid off handsomely as the South Americans dominated the match and Serbia had to work hard to get ahead every time.
Vinicius used his acceleration to consistently beat his man, while Neymar, in a freer role, often found pockets of space, but a well-drilled Serbian defense kept the Brazilian at bay in the first half.
Serbia was sweating over the fitness of its all-time top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, but coach Dragan Stojkovic named him in the starting lineup.
However, unlike Brazil’s forward line, the Fulham striker found himself isolated up front.
The second half was one-way traffic as Brazil shifted through the gears.
The breakthrough came just after the hour after superb work by Neymar to find Vinicius, whose initial shot was saved by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but Richardson was in the right place to tap in the rebound for his first World Cup goal.
Serbia had been playing conservatively up to that point and had no choice but to push forward, giving Brazil more space, and Richardson’s second goal brought the loudest roar of the night from the Brazilian squad.
As Richarlison tried to control a cross from Vinicius, the ball went over his head and he launched into the air for a bicycle kick to seal the victory for Brazil.
Portugal 3, Ghana 2
Cristiano Ronaldo etched his name in the record books for becoming the first man to score in five World Cup appearances in Portugal’s 3-2 win over Ghana on Thursday.
Ronaldo saved his side by drilling a penalty in the 65th minute of the Group H tie and when Andre Ayew equalized for Ghana, Portugal scored two quickfire goals to effectively seal the deal at the Stadion 974.
João Félix produced a delicate finish to give them the lead and Rafael Leão added a third to give Portugal their first win in their World Cup opening match since 2006, even though Usman Bukhari scored another for Ghana. Returned.
The win was not the most convincing for Portugal and will come as some relief for Fernando Santos’ side, who lead the group with three points and face Uruguay next Monday, when Ghana play South Korea.
For all of Portugal’s entertaining attacking play and goal-scoring performances from Felix and Leão, it was Ronaldo who again showed his unique ability to be in the limelight.
Santos said, “I think Cristiano is a great figure, a legend… 50 years later we will still be talking about him.”
Against Ghana, Ronaldo seemed to exert a planetary gravitational pull on the ball, with teammates searching for him at every opportunity.
For the greater part of the match, everything revolved around Ronaldo and almost all of his attacking moves ended on his feet.
For Ghana, the youngest team in the World Cup, its early ambitions rarely got past the halfway line, as the lowest-ranked team in the tournament kept almost everyone behind the ball at all times in the first half.
Switzerland 1, Cameroon 0
An apologetic Briel Embolo scored the winner against the country of his birth to give Switzerland a 1-0 win over Cameroon in their World Cup Group G clash at the Al Janoub Stadium on Thursday.
Embolo headed home a Xherdan Shaqiri cross after 48 minutes and afterwards stood with a sad face on his face as his teammates celebrated around him. The 25-year-old was born in Yaounde but raised in Basel.
Cameroon were the better side in the first half and could have taken the lead as Carl Toko Ekambi, Eric-Maxime Choupo-Moting and Martin Hongla all missed good chances for a weakened Switzerland side that struggled to get out of first gear.
But the Swiss improved greatly in the second period and took the lead through a well-worked goal from Embolo. Ruben Vargas missed a great chance to score the second but goalkeeper Andre Onana kept the Cameroonian out of steam.
Uruguay 0, South Korea 0
Uruguay defender Diego Godin and midfielder Federico Valverde both hit the woodwork as the South Americans were held to a 0-0 draw by South Korea in their first Group H game on Thursday.
Wearing a black mask to prevent a facial fracture, Son Heung-min started for the South Koreans, yet it was teammate Hwang Ui-jo who came closest to breaking the impasse, but he missed his shot. Scooped it over the bar and scored. ,
The best chance to pulsate in the first half fell to Uruguay captain Godin, whose glancing header from a corner hit the foot of the left-hand post just before the break.
Valverde fired a stinging shot in the final minute of regulation time that hit the top of the post as the sides battled to a stalemate in front of a crowd of 41,663.