BRAZILLIANT WHEN Richarlison said Brazil had ten celebration dance routines planned he clearly wasn’t joking.
And at one stage in this last 16 tie it seemed like we might get treated to them all in one evening.
Neymar and Vinicius Jr both got on the scoresheet
Brazil players celebrated each goal by dancing
Richarlison scored his third goal of the tournament
Lucas Paqueta notched his first ever World Cup goalCredit: AP
As it was they settled for four. But had they really wanted to, you got the impression they could have reached double figures.
This was the World Cup Brazil we all dream of seeing. The one which took you back to flashes of Pele and Jairzinho, of Zico and Socrates, of Ronaldo and Rivaldo.
It was Harlem Globetrotters in boots. It was Now That’s What I Call Football It was the Beautiful Game like we hadn’t seen before in Qatar.
And it wasn’t just the goals – although some of them were mind-blowingly magnificent.
It was the side dishes like Neymar’s drag back which didn’t just confuse Hwang In-beom and Cho Gue-sung, it even had referee Clement Turpin going the wrong way.
At one stage the camera flashed to the VVIP section, and Brazilian legends Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos and Cafu were looking down. Even they were in awe and applauding.
To think some people had doubted whether the current crop in the most famous football shirt of all were the real deal. Well doubt no more.
Six minutes was all it took to get the party started, courtesy of the man who can’t get a start in the day job at Tottenham.
Raphinha put Hwang and namesake Hee-chan on their backsides with a delightful shimmy down the flank, before drilling a low cross into the box.
Proof, you could say, that two Hwangs don’t make it right.
Neymar – yes, the Greatest Showman made his return from damaged ankle ligaments – arrived and the 974 Stadium held its breath. Only to exhale at a side-footed air shot.
No matter, for there, beyond the far post was the newest show-stealing member of the Selecao.
The one they all reckon will be wearing Neymar’s crown before too long.
Neymar played superbly against South Korea
Maybe even before this tournament is over, given the cool, dead-eyed way Vinicius Jr took a touch, had a look…and clipped it past four defenders and the keeper into the corner.
Cue dance routine number one, a little Samba line dance near the deadball line. They were only just getting their eye in and the toe-tapping warmed up.
Seven minutes later they were at it again, this time with a goal everyone – bar the little South Korean version of the Barmy Army behind one goal – wanted to see.
Richarlison’s speed of thought and fleet of foot got him in front of Jung Woo-young, and the Korean’s attempted boot clear was, instead, a boot to the back of a Brazilian.
Raphinha picked up the ball yet was almost waiting for Neymar to stroll up and take it off him. He duly did, to a delighted round of applause from his fans.
Casemiro covered much of the pitch in the last-16 game
A stutter, a stagger, and keeper Kim Seung-gyu was on his knees as the ball almost apologetically rolled into the net.
Celebration number two, a slight variation on the first, but definitely a different version. The best was still to come…in every respect.
For after half an hour we got the sort of moment which, if you had to come up with a caricature of all Brazil stand for, would be this.
Richarlison played head tennis to start it, before slipping it to Marquinhos, still lurking in the Korean box from a corner.
He pinged it to centre-back pal Thiago Silva, whose instant touch teed up Richarlison to finish low beyond Kim.
This time the celebrations saw him race to the sidelines, where 61-year-old coach Tite joined in with a bizarre chicken dance. It was clucking marvellous.
Yet still they weren’t finished, and still we weren’t even at half time. This time Vini jr, scorer of the first, was creator of the fourth, with the most deliberate of stood-up deliveries.
Lucas Paqueta was in acres of space, buried his volley low into the corner, and set off on a solo Samba before his team-mates arrived to turn it into more of a convoluted conga.
It was mind-blowing…and for a Korean team looking ever heavy-legged from the hard-fought battle against Portugal three days earlier, it was merciless.
It was also a tad rub-their-noses-in-it when third-choice keeper Weverton – the only one in the squad without any action before last night – replaced Alisson for the last ten minutes.
Mind you, for all it was a done deal inside half an hour, Alisson did actually have to earn his money, with no less than FOUR stunning stops.
As it is, he was eventually beaten by a piledriver from substitute Paik Seung-ho, but by then it mattered not a jot.
It was game, set and match long before. The boys are definitely back in town…and heavens, they’re going to take some stopping.