Richarlison Lights Fire Under Brazil Olympic Campaign

Everton star Richarlison netted a hat-trick inside 23 first-half minutes to launch Brazil's Olympic campaign on an explosive footing against Germany in Yokohama.

Richarlison is in Japan fresh from reaching the Copa America final with Brazil only a fortnight ago and propelled his side to a 4-2 victory in their opening fixture.

The 24-year-old, who is the first Premier League player to net an Olympic treble, opened the scoring on seven minutes, reacting after his initial shot was saved to fire right-footed beyond Florian Muller on the rebound.

Richarlison met Bruno's terrific 22nd-minute cross with a powerful header beyond Muller to put clear daylight between defending champions Brazil and the team they defeated in the Rio Olympic final five years ago.

And the forward, who has 32 senior Brazil caps, claimed the match ball on the half hour, collecting possession on the left of the penalty box and curling unerringly into the far corner.

Muller, the keeper from Stuttgart, spectacularly kept out a Cunha penalty shortly before half-time to keep the Germans alive.

And the European team, managed by Stefan Kuntz, threatened an improbable recovery after the break.

Nadiem Amiri squeezed a strike past Brazil goalkeeper Santos and, despite losing Max Arnold to a red card and the South Americans continuing to dominate, Germany scored a second through Eintracht Frankfurt forward Ragnar Ache.

Richarlison's first-half fireworks, however, ensured a Brazil side featuring former Barcelona right-back and World Cup winner Dani Alves and Douglas Luiz, the midfielder from Aston Villa, remained in the box seat.

And 21-year-old Bayer Leverkusen forward Paulinho sealed the points for Brazil when he crashed into the top corner deep into stoppage time.

Brazil face Ivory Coast in Yokohama on Sunday and complete their Group D fixtures on Wednesday 28 July with a game against Saudi Arabia.

The top two teams in four groups advance to the competition's quarter-final stage on Saturday 31 July.