Brazil sent an ominous message to their World Cup opponents with a dazzling display of attacking brilliance that saw them defeat South Korea and advance to the quarter-finals against Croatia.
Neymar scored his first goal since returning from injury at Stadium 974, but he was only one component of a devastating performance that ripped South Korea to shreds and settled this last-16 game well before halftime.
After seven minutes, Vinicius Junior set the tone with a composed penalty-area finish from Raphinha’s cross, and Neymar doubled Brazil’s lead from the spot six minutes later after fouling Richarlison.
It was Neymar’s 76th goal for Brazil, putting him just one goal short of Pele’s all-time record.
Richarlison then added to his personal World Cup showreel of great goals by following his spectacular volley against Serbia with a true work of art, controlling the ball three times with his head and foot before moving into position to take Thiago Silva’s pass in stride and score.
Brazil went four up after 36 minutes, with Vinicius finding Lucas Paqueta for West Ham’s expensive signing to score with a well-placed volley.
South Korea, to their credit, fought back and forced several fine saves from Brazil goalkeeper Alisson before substitute Paik Seung-ho equalized with a glorious 30-yard strike to add to the night’s collection of special goals.