Brazil has reached the quarterfinals for the eighth-straight World Cup after a first-half goal blitz against opponents South Korea see the five-time champions book a date with Croatia in the next round on the back of a 4-1 win at Stadium 974 in Doha on a night where an entire nation kept Pelé in their thoughts as he continues to battle serious illness.
Billed as one of the main heavyweights in the run-up to the tournament, Tite’s men produced arguably the best forty-five minutes of football at the 2022 World Cup after one impressive goal gave way to the next as the real Brazil looks ready to stand up and be counted.
A Seleçao started on the front foot while offering South Korea little avenue to hit them on the break and put themselves in control of proceedings in the 7th minute of action after Raphinha danced down the right flank before receiving the ball back from Lucas Paquetá before his squared ball across goal found its way to Vinícius Júnior for the Real Madrid star to bend his effort past Kim Seung-Gyu into the far corner.
It was the first time this tournament that Brazil found the back of the net in the first half, with Brazil quickly doubling their advantage in the 13th minute through star man Neymar who marked his return to the starting XI with his 76th goal for his country, putting him just one shy of Pelé's long-standing goal record.
Hwang Hee-Chan then forced Alisson into a diving save just three minutes later when his thunderous effort from range was just tipped over by the Liverpool shot-stopper who did exceptionally well to keep Brazil’s comfortable early lead intact.
Brazil would turn on the style when they tripled their lead in the 29th minute with what surely would be the goal of the tournament after Richarlison settled 30-yards from goal before finding Marquinhos who laid off to Thiago Silva who then found Richarilson with a weighted one-touch pass free in the box before slotting calmly past the keeper.
Lucas Paquetá would make it four for Brazil in the 37th minute when Brazil broke into space through Neymar who found Vinícius Júnior in space down the left-hand side who chipped a floated ball to the top of the box for the West Ham United midfielder to slam home to put the result beyond all doubt.
South Korea nearly found some semblance of a consolation prize on the night when Son Heung-Min got inside Marquinhos and into the area before dispatching a well-struck bending effort only for familiar foe Alisson to parry his effort away after what was the Taeguk Warriors’ best chance of the match.
The Asian giants would finally get on the scoresheet just fifteen minutes from full-time after a thunderbolt from 25-yards out dispatched by Paik Seung-Ho finally beat Alisson, who up to that point had made five saves on the night and looked unbeatable.
It would all end at 4-1 come full-time as Brazil booked a date with Croatia in the quarterfinals in what will go down as one of the statement performances of the knockout stage where the South American juggernaut finally produced a display worthy of their reputation. Though South Korea suffered a heavy defeat, they can hold their heads high for a credible campaign while never giving in even after the result was all said and done in the first half.
Brazil Player Ratings
- Alisson (GK): 7.5 - Finally beaten late on in the match but the Liverpool man was very good on the night.
- Éder Militão (RB): 7 - Performed well while deputizing at right-back before being subbed off in the 63rd minute.
- Marquinhos (CB): 6.5 - Decent on the day but was bamboozled by Son Heung-Min who nearly found a consolation.
- Thiago Silva (CB): 7.5 - Stout once again for the Brazilian veteran as he rolled the clock back once more.
- Danilo (LB): 7 - Taken off early after coming back from injury. Had a good outing despite the concerns.
- Casemiro (CM): 7 - A relatively quiet evening for the Manchester United man but he was solid despite that.
- Lucas Paquetá (CM): 8 - Scored a fantastic goal and stamped his authority in midfield rather well.
- Neymar (CAM): 8 - A goal and an assist for the national team star who is one now away from equaling Pelé's record.
- Raphinha (RW): 7.5 - Unlucky to not be among those on the scoresheet perhaps but he put in a good performance.
- Vinícius Júnior (LW): 8 - A threat throughout after bagging a goal and an assist. Vital for club and country.
- Richarlison (CF): 8 - Bagged his third goal of the tournament and looks to remain the key man up front under Tite.
- Dani Alves (Sub): 6 - Given twenty-five minutes of action as Tite looked to keep things fresh for the quarterfinals.
- Gabriel Martinelli (Sub): 6 - Lively as expected when he came on but was unable to contribute directly.
- Bremer (Sub): 6 - Replaced the returning Danilo who will be sure to start in the quarterfinals.
- Rodrygo (Sub): Came on for Neymar with ten minutes remaining for the PSG star to get a justifiable walk-off.
- Weverton (Sub): N/A - Given a run out by Tite to make his World Cup debut after Alisson proved a wall throughout.
South Korea Player Ratings
- Kim Seung-Gyu (GK): 7 - Deserves credit for the wealth of saves he made despite giving up four, including a brilliant penalty.
- Kim Moon-Hwan (RB): 6 - Did the best he could under what were endless attacking passages of play from start to finish.
- Kim Min-Jae (CB): 6 - Unfortunate to come up against a rampant Brazil in their best performance of the tournament.
- Kim Young-Gwon (CB): 6 - Under pressure for the entirety of the match was tough to deal with on the night.
- Kim Jin-Su (LB): 5.5 - Was left troubled all night as Raphina found considerable joy down Brazil’s right flank.
- Hwang In-Beom (CM): 5.5 - Struggled to deal with Brazil’s ability to control the center of the park.
- Jung Woo-Young (CM): 5 - One of a number of South Korean players who simply could not stack in central spaces.
- Lee Jae-Sung (CAM): 6 - Tried to make himself a general nuisance but was unable to have a sniff at goal.
- Hwang Hee-Chan (RW): 6.5 - Had four shots on the night and looked like his nation’s best attacking option overall.
- Son Heung-Min (LW): 6 - Left at the mercy of what South Korea could muster in attack but had the best chance fell to him.
- Cho Gue-Sung (CF): 6- Tried his best to feed off relative scraps for the majority of proceedings but didn’t manage a single shot.
- Hong Chul (Sub): 6.5 - Better on the night than the man he replaced at left-back.
- Son Jun-Ho (Sub): 7 - His display off the bench maybe suggested he could have started; solid as a substitute.
- Paik Seung-Ho (Sub): 7 - Came off the bench and scored a thunderbolt from range in what was a good substitute appearance.
- Lee Kang-In (Sub): 6 - Given fifteen minutes of action but could not change Korean fortunes.
- Hwang Ui-Jo (Sub): 6 - Brought on for the final ten minutes.