Brazil delivered an ominous message to their World Cup rivals with stunning attacking brilliance to dismantle South Korea and set up a quarter-final against Croatia.
Neymar returned as a goalscorer from Stadium 974 injury but the Brazil superstar was just one element of a devastating performance that ripped South Korea apart and decided that round of 16 game well before the break.
Vinicius Jr. set the tone after seven minutes with a commanding finish inside the box from a Raphinha cross, and Neymar doubled Brazil’s lead six minutes later by fouling Richarlison.
It was Neymar’s 76th goal for Brazil, just one shy of the legendary Pele’s record.
Richarlison then added to his personal showreel of great goals at this World Cup when he followed up his spectacular volley against Serbia with a work of art, controlling the ball three times with his head and feet before positioning himself to take Thiago Silva’s pass into his to take stride and score.
Brazil took the lead with another jewel after 36 minutes when Vinicius selected Lucas Paqueta for West Ham’s expensive takeover to score with a well-placed volley.
South Korea, to their credit, continued to be competitive, forcing Brazil goalkeeper Alisson to make several great saves before substitute Paik Seung-ho saved one with a glorious 30-metre shot to add to the evening’s collection of special goals.
Brazil set the World Cup standard
For 45 minutes in the stadium, Brazil reached 974 heights unmatched by any other team at this World Cup, demonstrating the level required to defeat Tite’s team and producing a collection of goals built in the best traditions of their country became.
And all of that was accomplished with the smooth freedom of speech that is Brazil’s trademark, a four-goal lead at half-time that in a way demonstrates its superiority.
Richarlison’s goal was a golden moment of the tournament, followed by a team dance in which coach Tite quite inappropriately took part.
Neymar got back into action with soft touches and his goal before being substituted late on after showing his fitness after picking up an ankle injury against Serbia that forced him out of two group games.
He is part of a strong Brazilian attacking triumvirate alongside Richarlison and Vinicius, both of whom are top scorers and both have shaped this World Cup.
Tite was so pleased with Brazil’s position that he was able to give Alisson a break and send goalkeeper Weverton, the third goalkeeper, to get a taste of World Cup action.
Brazil will now be big favorites against Croatia, having taken the lead with the best performance of any team in Qatar to date – or at least 45 minutes from slacking off.
Alisson outstanding as Brazil also excel in defence
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was substituted in the 80th minute after an impressive performance
Brazil’s three-goal lead was convincing and deserved, but there was another aspect of that win that showed just how strong Tite’s squad is.
South Korea, although outclassed for much of the game, still had plenty of chances only to meet one of the world’s best goalkeepers in Liverpool’s Alisson.
For all the understandable attention paid to Neymar and his fellow attackers, Brazil have a last line of defense to rival anyone at the tournament, with Manchester City’s Ederson a world-class substitute and Weverton seeing action here.
South Korea never gave up on creating chances but Alisson was superb, knocking over a long-range shot from Hwang Hee-chan before reacting quickly to block it after the break and sprinting off his line to go at Tottenham’s son Heung-min frustrate as he was clean through.
While Brazil have plenty of attacking options, they also have the protection of Alisson, who has brought his outstanding form at club level to the world stage this season.
Brazil are the first team to score four goals in the first half of a World Cup knockout game since Germany met them in the 2014 semifinals
player of the game
Vinícius JúniorVinícius Júnior
7Lucas Paquetá 5Casemiro
11 Raphinha 10 Neymar 20 Vinicius Júnior
1AlissonSubstituted forWevertonat 80’minutes14MilitãoSubstituted forAlves da Silvaat 63’minutes4Marquinhos3Thiago Silva2DaniloSubstituted forBremerat 72’minutes7Lucas Paquetá5Casemiro11Raphinha10NeymarSubstituted forRodrygoat 81’minutes20Vinícius JúniorSubstituted forMartinelliat 72’minutes9RicharlisonSubstitutes8Fred12Weverton13Alves da Silva15Fabinho17Bruno Guimarães19Antony21Rodrygo22Éverton Ribeiro23Ederson24Bremer25Pedro26Martinelli
1 Kim Seung-gyu
15Kim Moon-hwan 4Kim Min-jae 19Kim Young-gwon 3Kim Jin-su
10Lee Jae-sung 5Jung Woo-young 6Hwang In-beom 11Hwang Hee-chan
9Cho Gue-sung 7Son Heung-min
1Kim Seung-gyu15Kim Moon-hwan4Kim Min-jae19Kim Young-gwon3Kim Jin-suReplaced Hong Chulat 45’min10Lee Jae-sungReplaced Lee Kang-inat 74’min5Jung Woo-youngBusy at 44minReplaced Son Jun-hoat 45’min6Hwang In-beomReplaced Paik Seunghoat 65′ Minutes11Hwang Hee-chan9Cho Gue-sungSwapped in forHwang Ui-joat 80’Minutes7Son Heung-minReplacement2Yoon Jong-gyu8Paik Seung-ho12Song Bum-keun13Son Jun-ho14Hong Chul16Hwang Ui-jo17Na Sang-ho18Lee Kang-in20Kwon Kyung-won32Kwon Kyung-won.21Kwon Kyung-won.21Kwon Kyung-won Hyun Tae-hwan24Cho Yu-min25Jeong Woo-yeong26Song Min-kyu
Referee: Clement Turpin
Number of visitors: 43,847
Game ends, Brazil 4, Korea Republic 1.
End of second half, Brazil 4, Korea Republic 1.
Gabriel Martinelli (Brazil) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Son Jun-Ho (Korea Republic).
attempt failed. Dani Alves (Brazil) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Rodrygo.
attempt failed. Hwang Hee-Chan (Korea Republic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide on the right. Assisted by Hong Chul.
attempt failed. Bremer (Brazil) header from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Raphinha with a cross from a corner.
Corner, Brazil. Cashed in by Hong Chul.
attempt blocked. Dani Alves (Brazil) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gabriel Martinelli.
Casemiro (Brazil) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paik Seung-Ho (Korea Republic).
Substitution, Brazil. Rodrygo replaces Neymar.
Substitution, Brazil. Weverton replaces Alisson.
Substitution, Korea Republic. Hwang Ui-Jo replaces Cho Gue-Sung.
Offside Korea Republic. Kim Min-Jae tries a through ball, but Cho Gue-Sung is caught offside.
Gabriel Martinelli (Brazil) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Hwang Hee-Chan (Korea Republic).
Goal! Second Half begins Brazil 1, South Korea 1. Paik Seung-Ho (Korea Republic) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner following a set piece situation.
Cho Gue-Sung (Korea Republic) wins a free kick on the right wing.
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