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Richarlison scores first half hat trick in Brazil’s Olympic opener

The Everton forward was on fire playing for the Under-23 side

Brazil v Germany - Men’s Football - Olympics Day -1 Photo by Tom Weller/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Richarlison stuck to his guns that he be allowed to play at the Olympic Games for Brazil, and eventually Everton had to acquiesce. In an interview the new manager Rafa Benitez indicated that the forward owed the Blues for letting him travel to Tokyo, and the club leadership will be pleased with what they saw in his first game as O Selecao took on Germany.

Wearing the iconic #10 yellow jersey is truly an honour, and Richarlison showed himself deserving of draping it over his wiry shoulders. Starting up top on the left side of a 4-4-2 formation, the Everton player scored a hat-trick in half an hour, and could have had two more in the first half as well.

He opened the scoring early running onto a lasered through-ball from Antony and firing in on goal, pounding on the rebound after the Germany goalkeeper made a save.

Before the quarter-hour mark Richarlison fluffed a chance to get a brace, pouncing on a poor backpass from a defender, but was foiled by the goalkeeper.

It must be noted that this Germany Under-23 side is greatly weakened with a number of Bundesliga teams not allowing their youngsters to travel to Tokyo. Brazil lorded the game early pouring waves upon waves of pressure on the German side, and Richarlison duly got his second making a late run and connecting perfectly with a cross.

At the half-hour mark, Richarlison nabbed his hat trick with a spectacular finish that his critics usually don’t give him credit for. Picking up the ball outside the box on the left, he cut inside and curled in a shot into the far corner with no chance for the goalie to make a save.

The Everton forward was a subject of a couple of heavy tackles as well that would have had Benitez and his staff wincing, including a stamp on his ankle that saw Maximilian Arnold booked.

Germany sharpened up in the second half with Brazil more content to hit them on the break, and were able to pull one back to make it 3-1. Richarlison continued to terrorize the opposing defence, winning fouls in key spots and creating mismatches for his teammates. German captain Arnold was sent off for a second booking with about 25 minutes left to play, ending all chances of a comeback. Richarlison eventually left the game for Rainier in the 73rd minute.

Last season we saw how quickly Richarlison’s face, morale, form and output fell - in exactly that order - when he wasn’t scoring, so no matter how the goals are coming and who they are going in against right now can only be a good thing for the player.