Brazil and South Korea kicked off a decisive match to secure a spot at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter-finals on Monday evening.
Hosted at Stadium 974, the knockout stage match was a major one for both teams, though even more so for South Korea, which is the only Asian team to have ever reached the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Stadium 974 was filled with fans until the very last minute, as the game was the last to be played at the World Cup’s first-ever temporary stadium.
Sealed in the first 45
Neymar returned to the pitch for Brazil, after having just recovered from an ankle injury picked up against Serbia in their opening match.
The first half of the game witnessed numerous goals from Brazil, leading a confident entry to the determining match.
Less than 10 minutes into the intense game, the ball found the back of South Korea’s net as Vinicius Junior struck his first FIFA World Cup goal at minute seven.
Minutes after, Brazil’s Richarlison was brought down inside the box by South Korea’s Jung Woo-Young. After a VAR review, a penalty resulted in yet another goal for Brazil by all-time favourite Neymar. With a stuttering run up he delivered a cheeky goal, bringing the team to a 2-0 lead against South Korea.
The penalty made Neymar the third Brazilian player to score in three different editions of the FIFA World Cup, alongside Ronaldo and Pelé.
Brazil scored their third after Thiago Silva made way for a sharp pass, splitting the Korean defence open. Richarlison then doubled his run in time to sway the ball and propel it inside the net at the 29th minute.
The fourth came when Lucas Paqueta joined the scoresheet at minute 36, sending the Brazil team into their rondo dance for the fourth time in less than half an hour.
By half time, South Korea’s fate had been sealed.
Korea fight on
At the second half kickoff, a desperate South Korean team switched up the lineup with two substitutions, though little impact was made in the first moments.
Brazil seemed to have stopped their incessant pressing, but the Selecao still remained intense and intimidating in attack.
South Korea strove repeatedly to get the ball in the back of the net, but luck was not on their side.
Son shoots at goal after pouncing on the loose ball but it is saved by Alisson; Cho tries to hit it but can’t find a way to balance himself. Son then shoots again, which is yet again denied by Alisson. Finally, the referee raises his flag for offside. Despite a shaky defence, South Korea kept up a sturdy attack during Monday’s match.
The Reds secured a well-deserved consolation goal as South Korea’s Paik Seung-Ho finds the back of the net at minute 76.
An evidently dominant first half put the game to bed by the half-time whistle, with goals pouring in from Brazil’s Vinicius, Neymar, Richarlison and Paqueta. South Korea scored at the end, but it was a bit too little too late.
The World Cup favourites will go head to head with Croatia in the quarter-finals on Friday.