Like Pele’s Brazil, skill & audacity that dazzles
Richarlison has left football fans in a frenzy after a moment of “outrageous” audacity in Brazil’s 4-1 victory over South Korea on Monday.
Amid all the Brazilian dazzle, it was the team’s third goal from the 25-year-old that had the football world talking. The Brazil forward had already opened his account in Qatar with an extraordinary overhead strike against Serbia that many felt would be the goal of the World Cup at the time.
However, the Tottenham Hotspur forward may have gone one better against Korea at Stadium 974, the last game it hosted before its eventual dismantling.
In part, because of the audacity of the way he started it: juggling the ball on his head, first three keepie-uppies, then a spin turn to leave his defender dead, passes exchanged with Marquinhos and Thiago Silva that carved open the defence, a run on to the final ball, and side-footing it easily home past the hapless Korean goalie Kim Seung-gyu.
Richarlison is one of the players that coach Tite was banking on before the World Cup. But his form for Tottenham having moved from Everton during the summer has been dodgy. He is yet to score in the 10 matches he has played so far in the English Premier League for Antonio Conte’s team though he did score twice against Marseille in the Champions League.
One reason why Conte had signed Richarlison from Everton for €58million was his versatility. He is one of the few players who can play in all three positions — as striker, winger or from behind.
In Qatar, Tite is using Richarlison as striker. Vinicius Junior and Raphinha love to play from the wings, Neymar is operating behind the front three and hence the coach needs Richarlison as the main hitman. “He is my man,” Tite had said before the Cup began.
“Our attackers are bold. They try one-on-one moves, body feints... They are courageous and aggressive and it’s very impressive. One of the things about this team is the ability to win the ball back. Richarlison does that very well, Vini is very good at that... To play attractive football you need the ball. That’s why players like Richarlison, Vinicius and Neymar insist on getting the ball as much as possible,” Tite said, providing an insight into how the world’s most beloved team works.
Important to note here thatVinícius wasn’t involved at all in Richarlison’s goal on Monday. He seemed to be involved in almost everything that Brazil did that was excellent. His finish for the first goal was calm, precise and confident. His lob-flick for the fourth from Lucas Paquetá left you gasping.
Neymar gets in this story too because of the penalty for the second goal which put him on 76 goals for Brazil, one behind Pele, now undergoing treatment in hospital in Sao Paulo.
“I want to inspire you, my friends,” the great man had sent a message, via Twitter, before the match began. Tite’sboys took the message to heart and played like Pelé’s Brazil. It was a complete carnival. Richarlison led the way.