Football Sports Top Story World Cup

Richarlison starts Brazil’s campaign with a bang as Portugal’s Ronaldo makes world cup history

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It was Thanksgiving in the United States, but in the World Cup, it was simply another day of football. The final eight teams to make their Qatar debuts went to the field on Thursday in Group G and Group H games. Switzerland defeated Cameroon 1-0 in the opening game of the day, and Uruguay and South Korea drew 0-0. Portugal, backed by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, defeated Ghana 3-2, while top-ranked Brazil finished the day with a 2-0 victory against Serbia.

Richarlison’s spectacular 11-minute second-half brace against Serbia catapulted Brazil to the top of Group G and gave the pre-tournament favourites the perfect start to Qatar 2022.

Tottenham Hotspur forward scored an opportunistic opening goal before adding a fantastic, acrobatic second to give the record five-time winners a well-deserved victory.

Serbia remained a tough nut to crack in the first half, but Brazil shifted up a gear after the break and came within centimetres of opening the scoring on the hour mark when Alex Sandro hit the post from fully 30 yards.

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However, a goal was undoubtedly on the way, and it was no surprise when the energetic Vincius Junior assisted with a goal-bound effort that Vanja Milinkovic-Savic could only deflect out to the waiting Richarlison.

While his first goal was scored with his shin, his second was as pure and precisely performed as any at this World Cup. Although Richarlison’s initial touch was a little sloppy, the one that followed more than made up for it as he swivelled and delivered an inch-perfect overhead kick into the bottom-left corner.

In the Portugal-Ghana match, when Cristiano Ronaldo stepped over the penalty spot, they sat there, phones at the ready. All eyes were on Portugal’s No. 7, waiting for a piece of FIFA World Cup history to be made.

Those supporters near the end of Stadium 974, where Portugal was attacking in the second quarter, had started screaming Ronaldo’s name loudly barely five minutes before, as if waiting for his opportunity. And so it was.

His first World Cup goal, against Iran on June 17, 2006, was also from the spot, as was this one.

Ronaldo won the penalty, prompting Mohammed Salisu to confront him. He converted it as well, using enough height, power, and precision to blast the ball into the right-hand corner despite Lawrence Ati’s correct dive.

The crowd behind the goal let him a loud “Siuuu!” as he performed his characteristic celebration. With that, the 37-year-old became the only player in World Cup history to score in five different tournaments.

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