The coming out party for Brazil is a four-yearly occasion. The watching world sucks in a deep breath and allows itself to wonder if the old magic might present itself again. Or, are we just kidding ourselves once more? It is a glimmer of the unknown, a chance to dream.

And opening night here at the Lusail Stadium was no rude awakening. Brazil’s 2022 debut was on the very turf where Argentina were humbled two days earlier, but this was the opposite script with a catwalk model of a goal to sit back and admire. In the dying minutes, when Casemiro curled a side-footed shot against the crossbar, so nearly converting two goals into three, it did indeed all feel rather beautiful. Brazil favourites for



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