Richarlison won his fifth Brazil cap on Friday night and helped his country to a 1-0 victory over Uruguay at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
Everton forward Richarlison replaced Douglas Costa for the final 23 minutes of the match and was soon celebrating as Neymar rolled home the penalty which won Brazil the game.
He was very close to bagging his third goal for his country, too. With 83 minutes played Richarlison’s clever run behind left-back Diego Laxalt was spied by Neymar, who lofted the ball to the back post. The 21-year-old caught it on the volley but was on the stretch and unable to direct his effort inside Martin Campana’s right-hand post.
Richarlison, who made his full international debut only two months ago and subsequently scored twice on his first Brazil start, was posing a threat to Uruguay’s backline within sixty seconds of his introduction.
Stepping directly into Juventus player Costa’s position on the right, Richarlison came infield to embark on a scorching run down the middle which would have been picked out by Neymar but for defender Martin Caceres’s superb headed interception.
Richarlison was on his toes again with 73 minutes played and very nearly found by a searching ball from excellent midfielder Arthur, Laxalt the defender on hand to intervene on this occasion. It was a measure of Richarlison's soaring confidence that he was the player indulging in some keep ball high up the pitch and drawing a foul from the frustrated Uruguayans in the closing seconds.
Durante a coletiva dada por @neymarjr hoje, Davi Lucca pediu para @richarlison97 fazer a dança do pombo no jogo contra o Uruguai. Será que o atacante vai dançar?
Vídeo: @canalwamo pic.twitter.com/hhQnIGSyzz
— Neymar Jr. Site (@NeymarJrSite) November 15, 2018
Brazil took charge from the outset and rarely surrendered control of a contest which quickly grew into a battle of wits: Uruguay with five men strung across midfield in an attempt to stifle their opponents’ phalanx of silky ball players, Brazil rotating possession, moving easily and intelligently, and prepared to wait their moment.
Indeed, Uruguay’s first strike at goal was the product of some lax play from Brazil defender Danilo. Whether the right-back misplaced his pass midway through the first half or just didn’t see Luis Suarez was not clear.
Either way Suarez, to this point starved of the ball, hungrily gobbled up possession and whipped a shot which needed the fingertips of Alisson in goal to keep from dipping under bar.
Neymar, somewhat predictably, had been the first Brazilian to inject an element of thrust into the game. His driving run on six minutes was ended by Rodrigo Bentancur’s scything challenge – the subsequent free-kick from the impeded player tipped round the post by Campana at full stretch.
Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar had laid down his marker. By half-time Lucas Torreira, the diminutive tank of a midfielder from Arsenal, and Inter Milan's Matias Vecino had both gone in the book for crude challenges on Brazil’s talisman. Friendly or not, this match between two South American foes had yielded 21 fouls and five bookings before half-time.
FIM DE JOGO! Com gol de Neymar Jr., #SeleçãoBrasileira conquista vitória sobre o Uruguai! Dia 20 tem mais, agora contra Camarões. Valeu, Brasil! #GigantesPorNatureza #BRAxURU pic.twitter.com/yLMJnhuGof
— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) November 16, 2018
Neymar would have had Brazil in front on 11 minutes had he not strayed offside before kneeing in a cross from Filipe Luis. He was fractionally over with a dipping strike from 25 yards shortly after and on the half-hour – not long after receiving Torreira’s heavy hit – fed Luis for a chance which the left-back curled too high to trouble Uruguay goalkeeper Campana.
Brazil midfielder Walace leathered a shot which was deflected over. But it was Uruguay who signed off for the break with a flourish.
Suarez turned a first-time ball into space vacated by Luis and now populated by Edinson Cavani. His strike spat up off the turf but didn’t especially disconcert Alisson, who got a strong hand to the ball to save.
Brazil number one Alisson was rather more extended to push round a free-kick from Suarez soon after the restart but Brazil promptly regained the ascendancy, Campana saving from Neymar before leaping to his feet to deny Costa, waiting to pounce on the scraps.
The thousands of animated Brazilians inside the Emirates could finally celebrate with a quarter hour to play.
Danilo went down in the box after being challenged by Laxalt and after consulting with his linesman English referee Craig Pawson awarded the penalty.
Neymar addressed the ball in his own time before facilely placing it into the bottom right corner. Richarlison could potentially feature for his country against when they face Cameroon in Milton Keynes on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Lucas Digne played his 23rd match for France France as Didier Deschamps’ team went down to a 2-0 defeat by Holland in Rotterdam.
The Nations League encounter saw the Dutch avenge their 2-1 loss in Paris two months ago, with Georginio Wijnaldum putting the hosts in front by converting on the rebound after Hugo Lloris had repelled an effort from Ryan Babel sixty seconds before half-time.
Memphis Depay banked the three points for Holland when he scored from the spot six minutes into stoppage time.
Everton left-back Digne was on the field for the entire contest and will be keeping his fingers crossed Germany deny Holland the victory on Monday which would catapult them above France at the top of League A Group 1.
France play again on Tuesday, with Uruguay making the short hop from London to Paris for a friendly meeting.
Everton goalkeeper Joao Virginia, meanwhile, was on the bench as Portugal's Under-21 team claimed a precious 1-0 European Championship qualifying play-off victory in Poland.
The two countries were among the four best second-placed sides from nine qualification groups for next summer's tournament in Italy and are vying for one of the two remaining spots in the 12-team finals.
Indeed, Poland navigated all 10 group matches without defeat but were pipped to top spot by Denmark. And Portugal claimed the upper-hand in this two-legged tie when Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Diogo Jota hit the deciding goal 30 minutes into the contest in Zabrze.
The teams reconvene in Chaves on Tuesday, with 19-year-old stopper Virginia poised to continue as understudy to Manchester United's Joel Pereira, the 22-year-old currently on loan with Vitoria de Setubal in his homeland.