A pair of penalties from Neymar helped kick off Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup in an emphatic 5-1 victory against South Korea Thursday in an international friendly. Brazil, which faces Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon in the World Cup, continues World Cup preparations with a match against Japan on Monday, while Korea hosts Chile. Neymar scored a brace from the spot to go within four goals of Pele atop the all-time goalscoring charts for the country as Brazil cruised to a 5-1 victory over fellow World Cup qualifier South Korea at Seoul’s World Cup stadium on Thursday. Neymar outplayed South Korean captain Song Heung-min, a joint Premier League Golden Boot winner, silenced by an out-of-control Brazil side before 65,000 fans at Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Billed by some as a clash between Neymar and South Korean Tottenham forward Son Heung-min, Neymar and his teammates were dominant throughout what was an often one-sided clash. Brazilian winger Neymar Jr., shaking off an injured right foot sustained during practice the previous day, converted two penalties for the side at the World Cup stadium in Seoul. The PSG attacker scored his 72nd and 73rd goals for his nation, bringing him within one goal of the great Pele’s 77 for Brazil.
Neymar was really a worry for the game after injuring his right foot in practice on Wednesday, but he was the best part of the show on a night when Richarlison, Philippe Coutinho, and Gabriel Jesus all netted. Brazil, rated first in FIFA rankings, had a powerful squad and looked threatening practically from the start, with a header by Thiago Silva ruled out for offside.
South Korean defender Lee Yong was penalised for a challenge on Sandro inside the area, and after a video review, Neymar went up to take the spot-kick, placing it to the left of goalie Kim. On 57 minutes, Neymar converted his second penalty, this time following a VAR involvement and again sliding the shot to Kim’s left, the ball practically gliding into the goal.
Before the game, President Yoon Suk-yeol presented Tottenham’s Son with South Korea’s most tremendous athletic honour, the Cheongnyong Medal. Tite stated that trying to keep South Korean dangerman Son quiet was critical. Coutinho added a fourth with 10 minutes left, and Jesus grabbed a fifth three minutes into extra time, sprinting past the Korea defenders and scoring low into the corner. South Korea will face Chile, Paraguay, and Egypt this month as they start preparing for their tenth consecutive World Cup appearance in Qatar late this year.