Brazil were made to wait for the 2022 World Cup debut, as they were the last team to play their first group game. There was a lot of doubt heading into the match on what players Tite would use for his starting XI, with many reports suggesting Vinicius Junior may be on the bench with both Rodyrgo and Militao. Despite the rumors, Madrid’s Ballon d’Or candidate did start on the left wing in an attack with Neymar, Raphinha, and Richarlison.
Brazil won the match over a gritty Serbia side 2-0. Vinicius Junior had a hand in both goals. The first: pulling a shot off in the box after Neymar bamboozeld defenders and almost ran into Vini. The shot was only parried by Serbia keeper, Vanja, and Richarlison was there to tap-in the opener. On the second: Vinicius harnessed his inner-Modric and curled a cross with the outside of his right boot to Richarlison who produced an outrageous scissor kick goal.
Similar to his play for Madrid, Vinicius never stopped running at Milenkovic. Even when he slipped or a bit of skill did not come off, Vinicius would come again with the same energy and intent. It was a fantastic World Cup debut for the Brazilian, who admitted as much after the game: “To be honest, I didn’t expect my World Cup debut to be so good”.
Vinicius finished the match with:
- 1 assist
- 4 key passes
- 0.33 xG from a total of 4 shots (1 on target)
- 2 completed dribbles (4 attempted)
In the 76th minute, Rodrygo came on for his Real Madrid teammate and played on the left wing. Rodrygo played with the same intent at Vinicius and looked eager to score a World Cup goal. Real Madrid and Brazil’s #21 nearly scored with a curling right foot shot that looked destined for the upper 90. Rodrygo was positive with his touches and did not look over awed by the occasion.
The win puts Brazil in a good position to start their World Cup campaign. Following the match, news came out on injuries for both Neymar and Danilo. This may create a pathway to the starting XI for both Rodrygo and Eder Militao.