Alves still going! 18:43, Matt VerriDani Alves now 39-years-old but he’s still in the Brazil squad. Doesn’t start tonight, with Danilo getting the nod instead. Alves has won pretty much everything there is to win... except the World Cup. Every chance that changes on December 18. Thiago Silva’s pre-match thoughts... 18:39, Matt Verri“We know that it is a fierce competition and we needed to be ready, first of all for the first match. “We all know the importance that the first match has to deal with our nerves and in that sense, we are confident that we will have a good performance.
Malik Ouzia at Lusail Stadium19:31, Matt VerriIt’s interesting how tactically rigid Brazil seem. Neymar’s got the licence to go wherever he likes but pretty much every other player on the pitch is exactly where you’d expect them to be. Vinicius and Raphinha, for instance, have spent the entire game playing high and wide on the wings. 19:30, Matt Verri30 mins: Referee tells Serbia to hurry up with a throw-in, which probably means we’re in for six hours of stoppage-time. Neymar is buzzing around the pitch trying to get on the ball, not doing much with it yet. Casemiro with a wonderful ball over the top, nodded back across the face of goal by Raphinha and it’s put behind for a corner.
18:29, Matt VerriNeymar has 75 goals for Brazil, just two away now from equalling Pele’s all-time goalscoring record. He’ll certainly want to have that record for himself by the end of the tournament - potentiall even by the end of the group-stage! Gets his first chance to move closer tonight. (REUTERS)Brazil leading the way18:23, Matt VerriYet to play a match but Brazil are strong favourites to go all the way in Qatar.
We. Go. 18:54, Matt VerriPlayers are out, brilliant atmosphere as you’d expect. 30 teams have got their tournaments underway... time for the final two to begin theirs! Not long now... 18:50, Matt VerriKick-off coming up in about ten minutes. Brazil no strangers to coming into tournaments as favourites, they’ve fallen short under the pressure though in recent World Cups. Have to avoid that happening here in Qatar - defeat here would pile on the pressure immediately.
Pavlovic into the book already, long 84 minutes ahead for him. Feels a bit harsh, wasn’t a particularly bad challenge on Neymar. 19:04, Matt Verri4 mins: That gets the crowd going, Vinicius juggles the ball on his head and breaks forward. Raphinha then played in out wide, some space for the first time for Brazil. Low ball into the box, hacked away. Absolutely erupted in the stands as Brazil started to come forward. 19:02, Matt Verri2 mins: Three fouls in the opening 60 seconds, Brazil very eager in their press already. Serbia respond by going long, looking for Mitrovic, and instead pump it straight out of play for a goal-kick. Casemiro sitting for Brazil, pretty much everyone else seems to be attacking.
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19:28, Matt Verri27 mins: And that’s even better at the other end. Silva opens up the Serbia defence with a sublime through ball, Vinicius briefly looks to be in but Milinkovic-Savic flies off his line to push it away. Then gets up, sprints after it and boots the ball up the pitch before Neymar can get there. 19:25, Matt Verri25 mins: Match has settled down a bit, Brazil knocking it around at the back and Serbia happy to sit off. They lose it cheaply though and Serbia can break, Tadic leading the charge on the right. Looks to stand it up towards Mitrovic, Alisson off his line to claim. Great goalkeeping. Malik Ouzia at Lusail Stadium19:23, Matt VerriNot much in the way of incision from Brazil so far, just a few pot-shots from range. They’ve looked dangerous whenever Vinicius has had a bit of space on the ball but he’s run into one or two blind alleys - though I appreciate he’s not bad at turning those into open road.
“We truly believe in everything we have done up to today and are about to make our first appearance in the World Cup in a very favourable position, in the sense of being well in all ways. “What I can tell the Brazil fans is please believe in us - rest assured that we are ready to do a great World Cup. It is obvious the title is still very far away, but we can dream on and that is what we do every day. ”Going to be a serious atmosphere! 18:34, Matt VerriNeymar closing in...
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