Following the gala performance against South Korea, Neymar shuffled across the pitch in flip-flops, after which the entire Seleção sent a signal to Brazil's soccer legend Pelé. Led by the recovered superstar, the record world champion posed after the 4-1 (4-0) show with a banner showing the 82-year-old's likeness.
The message was clear: even after the easy quarter-finals at the World Cup in Qatar, the team is behind Pelé, who has been in the hospital in São Paulo for a few days. In any case, he must have liked the impressive demonstration of power against the hopelessly overwhelmed Asians in front of the television.
"He's not feeling well and we're thinking of him. We wish him the best and play for him. We hope he's happy with us," said Neymar to Pele, happy about the next step towards the sixth World Cup -Title: "We are dreaming of the title at this World Cup. We still have three games to go, we are well prepared and mentally fully focused on it."
The record world champion moved into the next round of the tournament in Qatar on Monday evening. In the first half at Stadion 974 alone, the South Americans scored four goals through Vinicius Júnior (7th minute), Neymar (13th / penalty kick), Richarlison (29th) and Lucas Paquetá (36th), one of which was more beautiful than that other was. Ex-Darmstadt Seung-Ho Paik (76th) scored the consolation goal for the outsider. In the round of the top eight teams, the Brazilians now meet runners-up Croatia.
For Pelé: "We dedicate this victory to him"
"You grow into a tournament like this and every game gets a little bit better. We're very well attuned," said Brazil's Vinicius Júnior and also thought of Pelé: "We dedicate this victory to him. We hope he gets out of the hospital as soon as possible comes and that we can become world champions for him."
Less than 15 minutes had been played in front of the 43,847 spectators before the Brazilians danced their joy twice in front of the crowd. First the strong Raphinha started to dribble on the right wing, moved into the penalty area and placed across Vinicius Júnior. Instead of completing it straight away, the 22-year-old took the ball calmly, aimed for the right corner and threw the ball into the goal. Then the whole team hopped arm in arm before the corner, then Neymar, Vincius Júnior, Lucas Paquetá and Raphinha performed another samba interlude. Four minutes later they were jumping again.
This time Richarlison was fouled in the penalty area and referee Clément Turpin awarded a penalty. And now the fans were demanding Neymar, who had recovered from his foot injury, as a shooter. The 30-year-old delayed his run-up and leisurely pushed the ball into the bottom right corner. Because South Korea's goalkeeper stopped, the ball tumbled into the goal. The goal made the superstar the only Brazilian, along with Pelé and Ronaldo, to have scored in three different World Cups. And the Seleção did not stop.
South Korea at no time a danger
At no point in the game did it appear that the South Koreans could pose a serious threat to the record world champions. The Asians hardly got their exceptional player Heung-Min Son into the game. In addition, they were overwhelmed by the speed and technical class of the favorite. The former Leipziger Hee-Chan Hwang (17th/32nd) tested goalkeeper Alisson twice in the first round. But on both occasions, Brazil were already comfortably in the lead. The Seleção only allowed what they could also allow given the one-sided game. Her victory was never in danger. Instead, the height was increased.
After a superb three-poster combination, each with just one touch, Richarlison was free in front of the South Koreans' goal and slotted in effortlessly. A few minutes later it got even better. This time, Neymar initiated a Seleção counterattack and put the ball through to Vinicius Júnior, whose cross was put in directly in the center by Paquetá. Again the Brazilians danced in front of the fans. You could almost feel sorry for the Asians.
They couldn't get close in the second half either, although the Seleção took it easy now. As a result, the outsider even created chances, but failed in each case due to the strong Alisson: once the keeper from Liverpool FC made a save against Son (47th), and once again he superbly repelled a shot from Hwang (68th). But the South Koreans were successful once. A nice shot from Paik hit the goal with a slight deflection.