Richarlison struck a pair of goals to propel Brazil past a stubborn Serbia 2-0, when one was a stunning, as Brazil made good on the hype in their opening game in the World Cup 2022 campaign in Qatar on Thursday.
Serbia goalkeeper Vania Milinkovic denied Brazil’s potent strike force on several occasions in a goalless first half that saw Brazil have the majority of possession.
It took Brazil manager Tite’s men a while to get going and, on a night when Nyamr was subdued, it was left to Vinicius Jr. and Richarlison to carry the side to victory.
After poor first half, Brazil spark to life
Brazil’s large support puts stamp on Qatar
Brazil may well be the most popular national team in this part of the word. The Lusail's wavy bowl was a sea of yellow and the subway ride up from central Doha was teeming with canary yellow.
Brazil’s opening World Cup win saw an enormous crowd cheer the men in yellow. And most of them were not even Brazilians.
Many were Brazilians who had made the trip, but many were simply locals who have embraced the Selecao, whether because of Neymar's popularity or the five World Cups they've won or the fact that they are, once again, favorites.
Brazil being the neutrals’ favorite is nothing new, of course. No country is as closely identified with the World Cup as Brasil. It does feel though, perhaps because of some of the tension between the European associations and the Qatari organisers, that Brazil as a team are more liked than any other.
Whatever the case, it seems Brazil will enjoy home-field advantage throughout this World Cup. Probably more so than hosts Qatar, judging by the way the Al Bayt stadium emptied when they were two goals down during the opener.
Aljazeera add, Doha, Qatar
Swag or success, why Brazilian football is loved across the world, – There are low-flying F-16s and there are more than 60,000 Brazil fans celebrating a World Cup goal. Which is louder? Millions of spectators across the world got the answer after Richarlison scored Brazil’s second goal against Serbia.
In between roughing up the opposition and inviting fouls, Brazil continued to mesmerise the 89,000-something present at the stadium. For either of those two goals, the noise levels would have far exceeded what Lusail Stadium has witnessed during a handful of football matches and concerts that have taken place there.
Brazilians love their football. By the show of hands on Sunday, so does the rest of the world. And this is no secret.
When Dhaka, Chattogram, even almost every corner across Bangladesh, Kozikode in India and Lyari in Pakistan bring out murals, flags and replica T-shirts bearing the names of Brazilian greats past and present, it to denote it’s the World Cup. And Doha has been added to that list.
Most of the Brazilian supporters inside Lusail Stadium on Thursday evening were not from Brazil. They have been labelled “fake fans” by some segments of Western media, but there was no fakeness about the authenticity and integrity of this group that knew, and lauded, what Brazilian players have given football for decades. Brazil has won the World Cup five times, more than any other team. They lost two finals, and also finished third twice. It’s definitely the success that brings the fans to the yard … but it’s also the swag and the skills.
Rakibul Hassan, a migrant worker from Bangladesh in Suadi Arabia, came from Ryadh in Doha to watch the match Brazil.
It cost Rakib travel to Doha from Ryadh about Taka two lakhs to watch only the opening match of Brazil. Rakib while talking to this correspondent from Doha over phone at midnight, told, “All my struggle is success, as I was a rare lucky to have the ticket of Brazil’s opening match, I did not think twice to fly for Doha after taking a leave without pay. No matter, the way they played, marvelous, it’s beyond explanation, the pace, the attack, the style, were amazing, every moment was pleasant,” said Rakib.
Ashiq, who hails from Kerala state in India, “The way they play, oh my God, it’s beyond fantastic, the pace, the attack, the style, it’s breathtaking,” Ashiq, who hails from Kerala state in India, told Al Jazeera after the scintillating show on Thursday.
He trembled while thinking of the most apt adjective to describe the performance before carrying on.
“I don’t remember when I started supporting Brazil but I’m glad I did. It’s astonishing how they keep producing the class of players.”
Laeth from Jordan did remember when he started following the men in yellow and also why.
“We’ve been watching them play since we were young. It’s just fascinating to watch them play: the ability, the skills,” he told Al Jazeera.
“You see the second goal (Richarlison with a scissor kick after a deft show of pure control) and you’ll know what I’m talking about. No other team can score a goal like that. Only Brazil.” Carina and Merari are two Mexican friends visiting Qatar for the World Cup. While their national team remains their true footballing love, on Thursday Carina donned the yellow of Brazil with both turning up to support Brazil.
“It’s because they are part of the Americas but also because of the football,” said Carina.
“I like them because of the players, the star quality they have. We’re Mexicans but we love football. That’s the main reason we came to watch this match,” replied Merari.
To see all this love pouring in from across the world has surprised Brazilians, including Juliana.
“It’s amazing to see how popular the team is across the world,” she said. “The impact it has, it’s amazing. We saw a lot of non-Brazilians support Brazil. Words can’t describe how we feel when our team is being supported like this. To see other people supporting Brazil, it’s beautiful.”
Brazil have not won the World Cup since 2002. The closest they came was at home in 2014.
However, memories of that semi-final will not bring much joy to the fans. They are instead hoping that the samba will bring joy to the desert this year.