The contest was all but over in the first half itself, when Brazil schooled Korea with an attacking masterclass to take a 4-0 lead at the break.
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Vinicius Jr opened the scoring for Brazil early in the seventh minute, before Neymar scored his 76th international goal, one behind their all-time record of 77 goals by Pele, by converting a penalty in the 13th minute. Richarlison made it 3-0 with a superb team goal in the 29th minute, before Lucas Paqueta sealed it for them with a cool finish in the 36th minute.
Korea came out with a much better strategy in the second half and kept Brazil strikers at bay, partially helped by settling down of tempo by the South American side too. The Asian side’s persistent effort in the second half gave them a consolation goal in the 76th minute, when Paik Seung-ho scored a stunning goal from distance. But it was too little too late for them as their campaign came to an end.
Brazil progress to the Quarter-finals! 🇧🇷@adidasfootball | #FIFAWorldCup
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The world’s most expensive player, Neymar, had sat out his team’s last two matches with a sprained ankle suffered in their first game in Qatar, a 2-0 win over Serbia.
But he came back for this last-16 tie as Tite’s team clicked into gear and delivered an ominous message to their rivals, at least before easing off in the second half.
The five-time World Cup winners had not scored four goals in a knockout game at the tournament since 1998.
Here they played at times with the joy associated with the Brazilian national team, the players coming together to celebrate each goal by showing off their dance moves and their coach even joining in.
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If they finished playing within themselves, their first-half display was superb and a fitting tribute to the great Pele.
The Brazilian legend had said he would watch the game from the Sao Paulo hospital to where he was admitted last week amid ongoing treatment for colon cancer, and supporters in Doha’s Stadium 974 unfurled a banner with a get well soon message to him.
All of it was a chastening experience for Son Heung-min and South Korea, who have still never won a World Cup knockout match outside their own country.
Tite made 10 changes to the Brazil team after rotating his squad for the 1-0 loss to Cameroon which came after qualification for the last 16 had been secured.
Danilo also returned from injury at left-back, while Eder Militao was the only player to keep his place and shifted across to right-back.
Familiar #FIFAWorldCup foes meet once again 🔥#HRV v #BRA
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With Alisson Becker back in goal and Thiago Silva and Marquinhos playing too, this was Brazil’s first-choice defence but their forwards quickly put the tie to bed.
The opener came from their first shot on target in the seventh minute as Raphinha burst away from Kim Jin-su on the right and his ball across goal came to the feet of Vinicius who coolly picked his spot.
They then won a penalty as Richarlison was caught by Jung Woo-young and Neymar duly beat Kim Seung-gyu — his last six goals for Brazil have now all come from the spot.
Alisson was then called into action to tip over a vicious long-range effort from Hwang Hee-chan, but Brazil then scored their third in style just before the half-hour mark.
Brazilian players hold a banner in honour of the 82-year-old Brazilian legend Pele. (AP Photo)
Richarlison juggled the ball on his head three times just outside the area before laying it off to Marquinhos and then continuing into the box to get on the end of Silva’s pass which he slotted home for his third goal at this World Cup.
Paqueta then got their fourth nine minutes before the break with a first-time finish as he connected with a Vinicius ball held up from the byline.
They could have added more in the second half had they not taken their foot off the pedal, although Raphinha was denied on more than one occasion by the goalkeeper.
Korea though deserved credit for keeping going and they were rewarded inside the final quarter-hour as substitute Paik brought down a headed clearance and sent in a ferocious shot from 25 metres that brushed off Silva to beat Alisson.
The Brazil goalkeeper was then taken off for the final 10 minutes to be replaced by Weverton, while Neymar was also withdrawn with Tite’s mind on Croatia.
(With inputs from agencies)