"We are dreaming of winning the title" - Brazil superstar Neymar in confident mood after dominant performance against South Korea
Brazil ace Neymar has admitted that Selecao are dreaming of ending their 20-year FIFA World Cup drought and winning the coveted trophy in Qatar.
Group G winners Brazil met Group H runners-up South Korea in a tasty round-of-16 clash at Stadium 974 on Monday night (5 December). The five-time FIFA World Cup winners ran circles around the Koreans, securing an emphatic 4-1 victory. Impressively, all four of their goals came in the first half of the match.
Neymar, who started for his country after recovering from an ankle injury, converted from the penalty spot in the 13th minute after Richarlison was brought down inside the box. In addition to the Paris Saint-Germain superstar, Vinicius Junior (7 minutes), Richarlison (29 minutes), and Lucas Paqueta (36 minutes) each scored a goal for Brazil.
Neymar was in good spirits after seeing Canarinho cruise to victory and admitted that his team is dreaming of bringing the trophy home. Speaking to the press after the match, he said (via NDTV Sports):
“We are dreaming of winning the title, that's obvious, but we have to go step by step.
He also briefly talked about the difficult night he endured after injuring his ankle in the Group G opening-day victory over Serbia. The PSG forward feared that he might not be able to represent Brazil in the knockout stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“When I got injured I spent a very difficult night. I was thinking of a million different things,” Neymar concluded.
The goal against South Korea marked the PSG no. 10’s 76th (123 matches) in Selecao’s colors. He is now only a goal away from equalling Pele’s record tally (77 goals in 92 games) for the Canarinho. The 2002 FIFA World Cup winners will take on Croatia in the quarter-finals on Friday (9 December).
Neymar could prove to be Brazil’s primary weapon against Croatia
After the way they played against South Korea, it is not unnatural to be hopeful. But the pre-tournament favorites must not take Croatia lightly in the quarter-finals.
Croatia, who overcame Japan on penalties (3-1) after playing out a 1-1 draw at the end of added time, know how to thrive with their backs against the wall. They are unlikely to offer Brazil as much space as they enjoyed against Korea, which could make life difficult for their pacy wingers.
Neymar could emerge as a key contributor for Selecao, as he is one of the very few players in the world who do not require much space to thrive. His defense-piercing passes, as well as link-up play, could give Tite’s side an edge against the 2018 World Cup finalists.