The victory joins Brazil’s long streak of being unbeaten in World Cup opening matches. The South Americans have not lost such a match since 1934. 17 wins and three draws are the result of the last 20 play-offs.
For a long time, Serbia held its own, but later in the second half, the team started to crack more and more. Richarlison exploited that in two very different ways. First he poked in 1-0 on a return ball from the goalkeeper after just over an hour, while it was pure football art that gave the 2-0 goal.
Then Richarlison first tipped the ball up and thumped it in acrobatically. The scoring was of the type many associate with Brazilian football.
In the Premier League, Richarlison has not managed to find the back of the net for Tottenham, but on the biggest stage he became Brazil’s great hero in the World Cup premiere. He became that after being fairly anonymous before the break.
Alex Sandro and Casemiro both had the ball in the post during the last half hour.
The first half offered a high tempo, but was almost devoid of chances. Serbia contained the Brazilian attack well and stopped Neymar from really getting going. The PSG star was fouled so often that Brazil were awarded five free kicks on that alone before the break. So far in the World Cup, no single player has played for more than one.
The first dangerous run of the match came after just under half an hour. Then Vinicius Junior was played alone through, but the Serbian goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic stormed out and barely managed to get the ball away.
Brazil is the most winning World Cup nation in history with its five titles (the last came in 2002). Since then, the team has not won a medal, but this year they are sailing up as one of the big favorites to go all the way.
The next match for Brazil is against Switzerland. It will be played on Monday a few hours after Cameroon and Serbia have met.