Four things we learnt from Brazil's emphatic win over South Korea
Richarlison celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and South Korea at Stadium 974 in Doha on December 5, 2022. (Photo by Pablo PORCIUNCULA / AFP) (Photo by PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP via Getty Images)

Brazil cruised into the quarter finals with a flurry of first half goals to beat South Korea 4-1.

Vinicius Jr, Neymar Jr, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta all netted to race Selecao Canarinho into a 4-0 lead at the break. 

Seung-Ho Paik added a late consolation to give South Korea hope but it was too little, too late for Paulo Bento's men.

Brazil now face Croatia in their quarter-final on Friday December 9 at 15:00.

Here are four things we learnt from the game...

  • Neymar is the difference

The neutral fan could be forgiven for believing that Brazil were not all they have been hyped up to be after their last group game brought a disappointing loss to Cameroon.

That was largely a second-string side though, with only Eder Militao retained from that starting eleven for this game.

Tite's biggest miss has undoubtedly been his star man Neymar, after his injury in their first group game ruled him out of the next two and Brazil flattered to deceive in both with that loss to Cameroon and Casemiro sparing their blushes late on against a sub-par Switzerland.

His influence was on show for all to see as he returned with an instant impact, notching an assist and a cool penalty inside the opening 13 minutes.

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Brazil looked much faster and decisive on the attack with his presence, as opposed to Paqueta further forward and Fred in midfield. 

The PSG forward created a big chance, completed the most dribbles of any player and was fouled the most of any player on the pitch - a sure sign of how much his presence had been missed.

It could be his last World Cup in the famous yellow, and he looks more determined than ever to bring a sixth trophy home to his country and boost his own brimming cabinet. 

Paulo Bento will, no doubt, have told his players to see out the first fifteen minutes if nothing else - as an early goal was likely to see an enslaught from the Brazilians.

Instead of keeping tight and making sure they kept themselves in it, the Koreans did exactly what Bento would not have wanted and allowed Brazil to overrun their defence and net two in the first 13 minutes of play.

Woo-Young Jung even gave his opponents a helping hand as he gave away a penalty to allow Brazil a chance to double their lead, albeit in dubious circumstances as Richarlison nicked ahead of him and he kicked his foot instead of the ball.

Their next half hour did not go any better as they conceded two more to a spectacularly worked goal from Richarlison and a brilliant finish from Paqueta to add insult to injury.

Bento must have given some stern words of advice to his players at the interval, as they came out and had some good patterns of play in the early stages of the second half and later grabbed a goal through a wonderful strike from Seung-Ho Paik. 

It was a seriously disappointing way to bow out of just their third ever last 16 World Cup appearance, with an improvement in mentality needed if they are able to reach this stage in 2026.

Paulo Bento has also bowed out of his duties with the loss, announcing that he would leave his post after the game.

  • Brazil have goals from all over

This was the Brazilians' biggest World Cup win since a 4-1 group stage win over Cameroon in 2014, and all four were scored by a different player. 

Richarlison now has three goals at this tournament, with Casemiro, Vinicius Jr, Neymar Jr and Paqueta all on one.

2018 World Cup winners had six different scorers throughout the tournament, highlighting the importance of goals coming from all around the team to go and win the trophy.

Neymar is his country's second all-time top scorer and has not even scored from open play or seemed to have come out of second gear so far yet, making it even scarier for opponents Croatia and potential semi-finalists to come. 

With their open, free flowing style not showing any signs of slowing down, do not be surprised to see more first-time scorers in games to come.

  • Son's no show

South Korea have stars playing in Serie A, Bundesliga and La Liga - but none near as big as Tottenham Hotspur's Heung-min Son and his global impact on the game.

The Koreans have pinned their hopes on Son for a number of years now, but this tournament seemed a step too far to simply rely on him to be their star man.

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He did not score and notched a single assist in his four appearances this time around, contrasting to his two goals in 2018.

Instead, it was Gue-Sung Cho and Hee-Chan Hwang that shone for Paulo Bento's side and took over Son's mantle as the main attackers.

He will be disappointed with his efforts and so will no doubt hope to play a part in his fourth World Cup in 2026 despite being 34 years old at the time.

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