Brazil 4-1 South Korea: Player ratings as Selecao cruise into World Cup quarter-finals
By Sean Walsh
Brazil eased into the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup with a memorable and emphatic win over South Korea on Monday night.
Tite's men raced into an early lead at Stadium 974 and never looked back as one of the tournament favourites flexed their muscles on the penultimate day of last 16 action.
Brazil broke the deadlock after six minutes when Raphinha came inside off the right flank and drew the challenge of several South Korea defenders, with his low cross being touched on by Neymar and into the path of a wide-open Vinicius Junior. The Real Madrid forward managed to pick out the top corner despite the various bodies retreating to the goal line, securing just his second goal for the Selecao.
Just five minutes later, Brazil were awarded a penalty when Richarlison stole the ball off of Jung Woo-young while in the act of clearing, drawing contact from the midfielder and falling to the ground. The returning Neymar stepped up and won a battle of wits with goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu, rooting him to his spot and rolling the ball into the bottom corner.
Alisson was forced into a stretching save as a manic opening period continued, quickly reaching upwards to divert Hwang Hee-chan's 25-yard piledriver over the bar.
Brazil added their third and it came in typical yellow-and-green fashion. Richarlison began the move with some head juggling, feeding in the unusually high Marquinhos who then played it round the corner for Thiago Silva, and his first-time pass found Richarlison through on goal and he made no mistake from six yards out.
With 36 minutes on the clock, the Selecao had their fourth. Vinicius' chipped cut back perfectly found the run of Lucas Paqueta, and his controlled volley rolled along the floor and past a helpless Kim.
A fifth could have been added before the break as Brazil looked to hit South Korea on the counter, but Richarlison's scuffed shot was mercifully denied and the rebound bounced over off of Neymar's knee.
The start of the second half began with Kim denying Raphinha and Alisson keeping out Son Heung-min as a breathless encounter continued.
Raphinha was clearly out for a goal of his own, twice more cutting inside and twisting his way past a couple of South Korea defenders before again being kept out by Kim.
The Taegeuk Warriors' search for a consolation saw Alisson save another of Hwang's strikes, while Marquinhos managed to crawl across the floor and deny Son from the rebound.
South Korea did pull one back in the final quarter of an hour as substitute Paik Seung-ho lashed one in from 25 yards after responding quickest to a cleared free-kick.
An acrobatic volley from 39-year-old Dani Alves was blocked by the head of Chul Hong in the final minute of regulation time, before referee Clement Turpin brought the curtain down after four minutes of stoppages.
Brazil will now face Croatia in the quarter-finals on Friday. The winners will then take on Netherlands or Argentina next week.
Brazil player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Alisson - 7/10 - Brazil were dominant but Alisson still had to be called into action on a few occasions, making a string of fine saves. Brought off for Weverton in the last ten minutes ensuring every member of the squad has played at least once.
RB: Eder Militao - 6/10 - His job was made easier by Son starting up front and Hwang taking all of his shots from distance.
CB: Marquinhos - 8/10 - Stepped into midfield with ease and kept Son quiet (even blocking a goal-bound shot of his when he actually forged a chance).
CB: Thiago Silva - 9/10 - Showed off his excellent range of passing at both ends of the pitch while making sure Cho couldn't get into the game.
LB: Danilo - 6/10 - Looked fit and fresh after returning from an ankle injury. Barely tested and didn't put a foot wrong.
CM: Casemiro - 8/10 - Broke up play and while he looked wasteful on the ball early on, he quickly grew into the game and steamrolled his way through midfield.
CM: Lucas Paqueta - 9/10 - Brought flair and energy to the midfield battle, waltzing his way through to goal and caressing in Brazil's fourth.
RM: Raphinha - 8/10 - Clearly wasn't fazed by his early pass straight out of play. Came back stronger with a twisting-and-turning display coming in off the right.
AM: Neymar - 8/10 - The perfect game for Neymar having just returned from a nasty ankle injury, playing at his own pace because he was afforded the right to.
LM: Vinicius Junior - 9/10 - It was a wonder why Vinicius had only scored once for Brazil prior to tonight. With his second in the bank and a wonderful all-round display to boot, he'll surely kick on as a Selecao icon.
CF: Richarlison - 9/10 - Hard to believe that he isn't a nailed on starter at club level, particularly with a positional rival on the other side tonight. Embodied 'joga bonito' and was worthy of the moniker 'R9'.
Dani Alves (63' for Militao) - 5/10
Bremer (72' for Danilo) - 5/10
Gabriel Martinelli (72' for Vinicius) - 5/10
Weverton (80' for Alisson) - N/A
Rodrygo (81' for Neymar) - N/A
Tite - 9/10 - Sometimes criticised for not getting the most out of his flair players, Tite deserves his flowers for inspiring such a classic performance. Even joined in with Richarlison's dancing.
South Korea player ratings (4-4-2)
GK: Kim Seung-gyu - 3/10 - Made to look a fool by Neymar on the penalty and also conceded several other goals from open play.
RB: Kim Moon-hwan - 3/10 - Had the thankless task of trying to slow down Vinicius. It did not end well.
CB: Kim Min-jae - 2/10 - Made some strange decisions to stay or go. Did little to help organise a haphazard defence.
CB: Kim Young-gwon - 3/10 - Pulled to-and-fro by Richarlison and Neymar.
LB: Kim Jin-su - 4/10 - His life was made difficult by Raphinha but he at least showed some endeavour going forward. Was hooked at the break, mind.
RM: Lee Jae-sung - 3/10 - Found it very hard to get in the game, which is damning considering he should have tested Danilo on his return from injury.
CM: Hwang In-beom - 2/10 - Like Kim Min-jae at the back, Hwang was often guilty of overcommitting and allowing Brazil to run past him at will.
CM: Jung Woo-young - 2/10 - Gave away a penalty and was generally off the pace. Withdrawn at half-time.
LM: Hwang Hee-chan - 5/10 - His shots, though from a long way out, were at least mildly threatening.
CF: Cho Gue-sung - 4/10 - Failed to impose his physical superiority as he did in the group stages.
CF: Son Heung-min - 4/10 - Bento's decision to play Son centrally was strange, making it harder for him to get in the game. Squandered a good chance at the start of the second half but the game was already gone by then.
Chul Hong (46' for Kim J.S.) - 4/10
Son Joon-ho (46' for Jung W.Y.) - 5/10
Paik Seung-ho (65' for Hwang I.B.) - 7/10
Lee Kang-in (74' for Lee J.S.) - 4/10
Hwang Ui-jo (80' for Cho G.S.) - N/A
Paulo Bento - 3/10 - South Korea were completely overawed and overrun. They were set up to fail by Bento's tactics or simply didn't listen to him.