A magical wonder strike, a new World Cup record, a shot fest without goals, and an injury to a star player. Matchday 5 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup had it all, as some teams shone in their first match, while others perished, and some were happy to share the spoils with their rivals.
There were four matches on the day, with the opening match seeing Switzerland win over Cameroon. The second match was an entertaining but goalless draw between Uruguay and South Korea. In the third match, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal edged out an impressive Ghana side by three goals to two. And in the final, the five-time world champions came to the party.
With all these teams playing their first match, no teams have been eliminated till now. So, here is a recap of match day 5 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Winners- Portugal, Brazil
Portugal have arrived with one of the best squads in Qatar and are among the favourites to lift the World Cup title. And the Portuguese were handed the toughest rivals in their groups in the form of Ghana. Boasting a team of Ajax star Mohammed Kudus, Inaki Williams, Andre Ayew, and Thomas Partey, the Africans were more than a match for the team from the Iberian peninsula.
Portugal got an early chance as Ronaldo found himself one-on-one with Lawrence Ati-Zigi, but the Ghanaian goalkeeper made a smart save. Three minutes later, he missed another chance, and when he did score eventually, he was flagged offside as the first half remained goalless.
Ghana had chances of their own as Kudus unleashed a ferocious shot just wide of the post. However, the match had its first goal in the 65th minute as Ronaldo was fouled by Mohammed Salisu, leading to a penalty. He duly converted it to become the first player to score in five men’s FIFA World Cups. Then, Ghana equalised through Andre Ayew before Portugal added a brace through Joao Felix and Rafael Leao. However, the match was far from over, as Osman Bukari scored in the 89th minute. They almost completed the comeback as Portuguese goalkeeper Diogo Costa almost fluffed his line and threw the ball straight to Inaki Williams, who slipped, and Portugal survived.
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Meanwhile, the five-time champions Brazil also started their campaign in style, defeating a strong Serbia side riding on a brace from Richarlison’s brilliance. The Selecao dominated the Europeans with only the exceptional Vanja Milinkovic-Savic in Serbia’s goalkeeping the scoreline down to two-nil. Tite fielded a starting 11, which was pretty much expected with Raphinha, Vinicius Jr on the wings and Neymar being left in a free role as a number 10.
Serbia knew the Brazilian formation allowed Neymar to be at his creative best; thus, the PSG man was at the receiving end of some physical play from the Eagles. Brazil had several chances in the first half, especially through Raphinha and Vinicusr Jr, but the impressive Milinkovic-Savic saved both attempts. The shot-stopper would deny the Brazilian attackers several times. On top of that, Alex Sandro’s ferocious long-range shot rattled the post as they looked for an opener. And finally, it did come in the 62nd minute as Richarlison reacted brilliantly to a loose ball in the box to score. He would another ten minutes later with a ‘Goal of the tournament contender. However, Brazil kept the pressure as Casemiro saw another shot coming off the post to win the match.
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Man of the Match- Bruno Fernandes, Richarlison
While Cristiano Ronaldo created a record and Joao Felix and Rafael Leao got on the scoresheet, Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes was the orchestrator. Fernandes was the perfect enforcer in the middle of the park providing two assists. He was the star of the show, winning every duel, be it aerial or on the ground, with a pass accuracy of 94 per cent and making three key passes.
For Brazil, despite the attacking brilliance around him, it was Richarlison who was the leading man on the pitch. After opening the scoring in the 62nd minute, the Tottenham man scored the best goal this tournament has seen till now. From the left, Vinicius sent a cross into the box for the forward. Richarlison casually flicked the ball up in the air before unleashing a ferocious sideways volley past the hapless Milinkovic-Savic in the goal.
Despite Brazil’s impressive win, the injury of Neymar was the most talked about point from the match. As mentioned earlier, the Serbians were continuously fouling him, which left him injured, after which he was substituted in the 80th minute. He was seen crying on the bench, and the Brazilian medical team have said they needed 24 to 48 hours before they could determine the extent of his injury. However, manager Tite is assured his star will be back.
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Neymar knows all about injuries in the World Cup. He was injured in the quarter-final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Colombia. As a result, he missed the next match against Germany, which Brazil lost 7-1, and he will be hoping another injury does not end his current World Cup run.