Brilliant Brazil turn on the style
It says quite a bit about the bewildering degree of technical capability on this Brazil aspect that it was their centre-backs, Marquinhos and Thiago Silva, who mixed to arrange Richarlison’s sensible third aim.
From entrance to again, they have been all at it, toying with South Korea and administering brutal punishment, their dazzling first-half show – albeit against poor opposition – a reminder of why Brazil, though sluggish starters at this event, are favourites to win it.
Richarlison’s strike, which featured him juggling the ball on his head in the construct-up, was the choose of the 4. The Tottenham ahead, scorer of a sensational overhead kick against Serbia, seems to be working his personal private aim of the event competitors.
But there was lots to get pleasure from about the others too.
For the opener, there was Raphinha skinning his man to create the probability, then Vinicius Jr taking the ball below his spell and bending it round 4 South Korean gamers on the aim-line.
For the fourth, there was the Real Madrid man turning supplier, his delicate, lofted centre discovering the onrushing Lucas Paqueta with out the want for him to break his stride.
There have been many extra moments to savour in between, from the dancing celebrations, one in every of which concerned their supervisor in the dugout, to the showboating brilliance that drew gasps from the crowd.
This was Brazil as we all know them.
South Korea have been accommodating opponents, however the velocity, precision and sheer enjoyment of Brazil’s show evoked recollections of their greatest sides. At the finish, the gamers held up a banner in assist of Pele as he watched from his hospital mattress in Sao Paulo. The nice man likely authorised of what he noticed. Brazil have arrived.
Alisson prepared for harder assessments forward
Alisson wouldn’t have been anticipated to have been in competition for Player of the Match as Brazil took on South Korea. Less nonetheless after the 4-1 thrashing they unleashed.
But the Liverpool goalkeeper, overwhelmed for the first time in the event by a second-half Seung-Ho Paik stunner, had his work reduce out in Stadium 974 with various high quality saves to preserve Brazil’s progress extra routine than it may have been.
He was at full stretch to get fingertips to a Hee-Chan Hwang roller which might have overwhelmed a lot of his World Cup colleagues earlier than the half-time break.
He denied the similar participant with a sprawling cease after the interval, and went on to produce one other very good save to preserve out an offside effort from Heung-Min Son – not that he knew it at the time.
Coupled along with his at all times-wonderful distribution and high quality on the ball, it was a reassuring show for the Brazil backline who didn’t at all times attain the heights of their goalkeeper’s defensive efficiency.
There is little doubt about the high quality of the South American’s assault. With Alisson between the sticks, their backline too appears to be like extra akin to that of a world champion.
Roy Keane’s verdict was unequivocal.
“Alisson will be disappointed with conceding a goal. There’s not much he can do with it, there’s a couple of deflections on the way.
“We’ve mentioned it earlier than – an impressive goalkeeper.”
Brazil must be ready for a Croatia marathon
Second is the new first when it comes to penalty shootouts – and Croatia do not thoughts defying the odds both.
The victory over Japan was the seventh consecutive set of spot kicks received by the aspect capturing second, with Croatia completely satisfied to go the distance once more in the knockout phases. They have grow to be one in every of the hardest sides to beat in current tournaments.
At the final World Cup, they held their nerve to progress previous each Denmark and Russia on penalties earlier than seeing off England after further-time to attain the last. At Euro 2020, they have been undone in further-time by Spain having suffered the similar destiny to Portugal in 2016. Croatia don’t exit simply.
Croatia could also be an ageing aspect however there are nonetheless some marathons left in them but. Against a Japan staff stuffed with vitality and working, the Croats slowly however absolutely floor them down, suffocated their assaults and broke their will. Then their expertise got here by in the shootout.
Croatia will pose a totally totally different problem to Brazil than South Korea. Neymar and co have to be prepared for a battle till the final second.
Livakovic makes the distinction for Croatia
Japan’s penalties have been nervous. Tentative. But two of these stopped by Dominik Livakovic have been sure for the nook. The complete put up-shot anticipated-aim worth of these 4 penalties was over three. Only one beat him. These have been good stops by the Croatia goalkeeper.
For all the speak of Croatian expertise, the largest names – Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Mateo Kovacic – had already been substituted. It fell to their 27-yr-previous goalkeeper, taking part in in his first World Cup knockout sport, to make the distinction.
Livakovic had confronted 54 profession penalties earlier than this match, with a conversion charge of 74 per cent against him. The common conversion charge is round 78 per cent, comparable to that of the Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda. The stats have been on his aspect. Livakovic backed it up.
Hope for Japan regardless of extra final-16 heartbreak
If Japan’s performances in previous World Cups instructed us something, it was that they might fail to make it out of a gaggle containing earlier winners Germany and Spain, plus Costa Rica.
Dating again to 1998, the Asian aspect had alternated between exiting at the group stage and the final 16 each 4 years. Given they made it to the first knockout stage in 2018, falling at the opening hurdle this time spherical appeared inevitable – notably as soon as they have been drawn in such a difficult group.
But Hajime Moriyasu’s aspect tore up the script in Qatar. Not solely did they make it out of their group however they did so after ending prime thanks to wins over Germany and Spain.
With the group-stage exit/final-16 exit sample ended, Japan’s subsequent problem was lastly making it to their first World Cup quarter-last.
Japan had appeared in three earlier final-16 encounters, struggling coronary heart-breaking defeats on every event. A 1-0 loss to Turkey noticed them knocked out of their house event in 2002, Paraguay beat them on penalties in 2010 and they threw away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to Belgium in 2018.
Japan can add 2022 to that listing of emotional defeats. After going toe-to-toe with Croatia, the 2018 runners-up, for 120 minutes, a dreadful set of penalties ended their World Cup marketing campaign and prompted tears amongst the squad.
But Japan can take coronary heart from their achievements in Qatar. Their wins over Germany and Spain will go down as two of the largest shocks of the event, whereas they have been one in every of solely 9 groups who made it to the 2018 knockout phases to achieve this once more 4 years later.
“Japan is reaching a level where we can play on the world stage,” Moriyasu mentioned after full-time. While Croatia’s knockout-stage savvy finally proved insurmountable, Japan can confidently declare to have established themselves as a staff to be revered – even perhaps feared – internationally.