“You will leave” pombo here alone,” Tite laughed. The coach of the Brazilian team had just finished his evening media mission, the espresso cup in hand was empty. “I won’t be able to hug Richarlison?” he said, disappointed. Brazil’s match winner was tied up in an anti-doping check, waiting for the call of nature.
“I’m trying to pee, it’s hard,” said Richarlison, though he didn’t let the time go to waste.
“I was able to call Ney and see how he was,” Richarlison revealed. Neymar buried his head in his yellow-green shirt to hide tears after spraining his right ankle, “tricking” Tite by playing over the pain barrier for another 11 minutes against Serbia. “I told him to put ice on it,” said Richarlison as if he were a Brazilian paramedic.
Despite Tite’s confidence Neymar will “continue to play in the World Cup”, past injuries in this tournament are a haunting theme of his career and will keep him going. .
Richarlison promised to stop by his room in Westin before bed. “When I get to the hotel, I’ll go see how he’s doing,” he said. Richarlison probably won’t sleep, the buzz from scoring the league’s goal is unlikely to fade on the short bus ride from Lusail.
“I think it’s a beautiful goal,” he said. “I’ve scored a goal like that for Fluminense and Everton. Today I had the opportunity to score an acrobatic goal, possibly one of the best goals of my career. It was a tough game so I think it was one of the best games of my career.” After all, scissor kicks are a trademark of Richarlison. He even score a goal at a training camp in Turin last week.
“It’s the result of practice,” said Fred in the mixed zone. “It is not easy to go there and score goals. It’s the fruit of his and the team’s training.”
Practice makes perfect. In the first half of the match against Serbia, still 0-0, Richarlison gathered his teammates around him and said that something had to change. “I told them I needed the ball and it came, I was ready and I scored.”
The first goal was a touch of the ball after Vanja Milinkovic-Savic made a shot from Vini Jnr. The second is something else. Earlier this week, Richarlison’s teammate Pedro, a competitor for Brazil’s starting striker position, said the Tottenham Hotspur striker has essência do brasileiro — a characteristic that is unique to a Brazilian. This goal proves it.
On the subway train to the match, there were fans from all over the world who came to Lusail to watch Brazil. The idea that they play football because it has to be played with flair and lasting skill, it’s imaginative.
The rich Qataris in the Brazilian national team shirt want to show their kids what football is like. That’s exactly what Richarlison’s goal is, an expression of the Brazilian ideal that dates back to the time of Pele and Garrincha in 1958.
Starting with a pass from outside Vinicius Jnr’s foot, Richarlison then stuns the ball with his left foot, lifts the ball high, places one hand on the floor and rotates his right foot into it, Capoeira style, performing a hook. . pass the abandoned Milinkovic-Savic.
As with his first goal, the entire Brazilian bench jumped off the fence and into the corner flagpole to celebrate with him and the rest of the team.
Even Tite was swept away. “Sometimes emotions can’t be explained,” he says. “They are emotions.” The 61-year-old, wearing a cobalt blue suit, wanted to convey “how much effort is behind that goal.”
He spoke of the physios, now working for Neymar, who have helped Richarlison get back into shape following a calf injury he sustained against his former side Everton in mid-October.
Richarlison is “frightened”, panicking that it could disrupt his World Cup. Tite is also concerned.
When Gabriel Jesus was sent off in the 2019 Copa America final against Peru, potentially jeopardizing Brazil’s chances of the title, Richarlison came on and coldly scored the closing goal.
He was the top scorer at the 2020 Olympics when Brazil won the gold medal and Brazil’s top scorer in 2022. “It’s like O’Professor (Tite) said,” Richarlison reminded everyone on Thursday night. He “smells” the goals. That’s why he was chosen over Jesus who is in good form at Arsenal.
Seeking to explain Serbia’s 2-0 defeat, their coach, the legendary Piksi Stojkovic, said: “We are not Brazil with 200 million people (to choose from). We are a small country.” If Dusan Vlahovic and Filip Kostic are injured and Aleksandar Mitrovic is not fully fit, that is a problem.
Tite, on the other hand, is weighing his options, in Qatar and the ones he leaves at home like Copa Libertadores champion striker Gabriel Barbosa, Roberto Firmino, Matheus Cunha and Hulk. It helps underline the competition that Richarlison took to make the number 9 shirt his own.
He’s one of the 200m. “It’s a kid’s dream come true,” smiled Richarlison.
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(Photo: Markus Gilliar – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)