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Winners & Losers

Are you not entertained?! Brazil winners, losers and ratings as Tite's team dance their way past South Korea and into the quarter-finals

5:19 AM MYT 06/12/2022
Vinicius Junior Neymar dance Brazil South Korea 2022 World Cup HIC 16:9
The Selecao turned on the style in a 4-1 rout at Stadium 974 in Doha, with Neymar's return from injury transforming the team.

Neymar is back – and so is Joga Bonito.

Less than half an hour into Monday's 4-1 win over South Korea, and even Brazil boss Tite was dancing.

That's how much fun he and his players were having in this Qatar 2022 last-16 tie. They were already three goals to the good at that point.

Vinicius Junior had opened the scoring with their first shot on target before Neymar marked his return to action with a penalty.

Richarlison had won that spot-kick and it was he who effectively ended the game as a meaningful contest, coolly finishing off a move he had started by juggling the ball on his head.

Lucas Paqueta added a fourth shortly before the break, meaning Tite could afford to take off some of his stars during the second half.

Credit to Korea, they kept battling, and gave their fantastic fans something to cheer when Paik Seung-ho found the back of the net with a deflected strike – but this night belonged to Brazil.

Below, GOAL runs through all of the winners and losers from what was both a serious and joyous statement of intent from the Selecao...

  • Neymar Brazil South Korea 2022 World Cup

    The Winners

    Neymar's pursuit of Pele's record:

    Neymar couldn't have hoped for an easier return to action after missing Brazil's group games against Switzerland and Cameroon with an ankle injury sustained in their tournament opener against Serbia. South Korea's jaded players couldn't get near the men in yellow during a painfully one-sided first half, even gifting the Selecao a penalty which Neymar converted with aplomb, sitting down Kim Seung-gyu as he rolled the ball into the net for his 76th international goal. In doing so, he became just the third Brazilian to score in three World Cups, alongside Ronaldo and Pele. He's now just one goal away from matching the latter's all-time tally for Brazil (77). Given Neymar's return has reignited Tite's attack, it would not be at all surprising if the Paris Saint-Germain superstar equals Pele's record against Croatia.

    Richarlison's goal of the tournament hopes:

    Richarlison is clearly a man on a mission. We're only at the last-16 stage of Qatar 2022 but the Spurs striker already has two strong contenders for goal of the tournament. His second strike against Serbia was stunning, with Richarlison using a poor first touch to show off his volleying skills. Here, he pulled out his best 'seal dribble' at the start of an attack that ended with him slotting home his 20th goal for Brazil. Catching Kylian Mbappe in the race for the Golden Boot will be difficult but Richarlison is the clear frontrunner for the goal of the tournament award.

    Pele:

    Pele is an idol not just in Brazil but throughout the world. Every football fans' thoughts are with him and his family right now. But just how much he means to this particular crop of Brazil players was hammered home here, with the entire squad taking to the field with a Pele banner just seconds after the full-time whistle had blown. "This victory is for him," Vinicius said afterwards. "I want to send a big hug to Pele. I hope that everything goes well and that he can get out of this situation." Long live The King.

    The Samba Boys:

    In the elevator up to the media tribune on the fourth floor of Stadium 974, the music emanating from outside grew louder and louder. One bemused English journalist asked "Are we going to a party?" Quick as a flash, a Brazilian colleague replied, "Brazil IS a party." On this evidence, it's difficult to disagree. The fans were singing and dancing long before the game began. The players joined in just seven minutes after kick-off. So, when even Tite started strutting his stuff, this really did feel more like the Copacabana than Qatar. A veritable carnival of football if ever there was one.

  • Neymar celebrates

    The Losers

    South Korea's tired legs:

    Paulo Bento complained before this 'contest' that the timing of the game had been unfair on South Korea, claiming that FIFA often favours the likes of Brazil when it comes to scheduling. However, both teams had technically played just three days previously. The truth of the matter is that the Selecao simply benefited from being able to rest 10 players in their final group fixture, against Cameroon, because they had already sealed their place in the last 16. It is a reward available to any side that wins their opening two games. South Korea simply paid a heavy price for having to battle to the very last second of their epic 2-1 win over Portugal to progress to the knockout stage.

    Brazil's rivals:

    Brazil have belatedly arrived at Qatar 2022. The tournament favourites had underwhelmed up until this point, with Richarlison's sensational scissors-kick against Serbia the one highlight of an otherwise dull campaign. Indeed, much of the media attention was focused on off-field matters, such as injuries and illness. However, the Selecao proved worth the wait. The opening 45 minutes was astounding, arguably as good as anything the great Brazil sides of the past have produced in this tournament. Indeed, this was the earliest they've ever gone 3-0 up in a World Cup game, and only the second time they've ever racked up four goals by the break. However, while it a thrilling performance for the neutrals, it was a deeply worrying display for all of their rivals, chief among them Croatia. The 2018 runners-up were fortunate to see off Japan on penalties earlier in the night. On this evidence, Brazil could tear another tired team to shreds on Friday night.

  • Marquinhos Alisson Brazil South Korea 2022 World Cup

    Brazil Ratings: Defence

    Alisson (7/10):

    Didn't have a save to make in his first two outings in Qatar before being rested against Cameroon, but he pulled off three fine stops here. Testament to both his shot-stopping skills and powers of concentration. Nothing he could have done about Paik Seung-ho's deflected strike from distance, either.

    Eder Militao (8/10):

    Brazil's best option at right-back at the moment. Defended well and also used the ball astutely.

    Marquinhos (8/10):

    An accomplished defender who is just so ridiculously comfortable on the ball. Not a surprise to see him involved in Richarlison's goal.

    Thiago Silva (8/10):

    Never looked ruffled, even when South Korea did manage to apply some pressure. His passing was fantastic and he even assisted Richarlison's sublime strike.

    Danilo (7/10):

    Not Brazil's first-choice option but needs must in light of injuries and the versatile Danilo did well here.

  • Lucas Paqueta Brazil South Korea 2022 World Cup

    Midfield

    Casemiro (7/10):

    Another dominant display from the tournament's best defensive midfielder. His passing was sloppy at times but he got through a serious amount of work, making several key tackles.

    Lucas Paqueta (8/10):

    Allowed to get forward at will because of Casemiro's diligence and discipline, resulting in him scoring a wonderfully well-taken volley just before the break.

  • Richarlison Brazil 2022

    Attack

    Raphinha (8/10):

    A real livewire on the right, and from the first whistle too. It was the Barcelona man who created the opener with his fancy footwork and clever cut-back.

    Neymar (7/10):

    Not at his very best but this was a hugely encouraging return for a man with a dodgy ankle. Took his penalty with astounding nonchalance and his mere presence on the pitch just lifts those around him.

    Vinicius Junior (7/10):

    He has his first World Cup goal, and what a lovely finish it was. The Real Madrid winger is now likely to just go from strength to strength in this knockout stage.

    Richarlison (8/10):

    You've got to hand it to him, he's some player in a Brazil shirt. The skill that led to his goal was stunning. And he's become even more important now that Jesus is out injured.

  • Brazil Tite Richarlison

    Subs & Manager

    Bremer (6/10):

    Came on for Danilo in the final quarter and had no major issues.

    Gabriel Martinelli (6/10):

    Replaced Vinicius out wide for the final 20 minutes but made little impression.

    Dani Alves (6/10):

    The veteran slotted in at right-back just after the hour mark.

    Weverton (N/A):

    Took over in goal from Alisson for the last 10 minutes.

    Rodrygo (N/A):

    Only introduced late on for Neymar.

    Tite (8/10):

    Not sure about the dancing. No doubt some will find it disrespectful but hard for anyone not to have got caught up in the emotion of that thrilling first-half display. His decision to bring Neymar straight back into the starting line-up certainly paid off.