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Vinicius Junior sent "a strong hug" to Pele and says Brazil can keep "dancing until the final" after helping the Selecao beat South Korea 4-1 to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

Three-time World Cup winner Pele has been receiving treatment in Sao Paulo, though his family have denied reports that he is receiving palliative care.

On social media, the Selecao legend confirmed he would be watching Brazil's knockout clash with South Korea and will have enjoyed the performance as Vinicius opened the scoring before a Neymar penalty put him one short of Pele's all-time scoring record for his nation.

Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta rounded off the scoring to give Brazil a four-goal advantage at the break, with Paik Seung-ho's effort in the second half merely being a consolation.

Asked what message the victory sends, Vinicius told Globo Esporte: "That we can keep dancing until the final.

"And send a strong hug to Pele, who is in need of strength. This victory goes to him, so that he can get out of this situation.

"[It says that] we can be champion for him."

Brazil's performance against Croatia was their stand-out display of the competition so far, having shown flashes of their brilliance during the group stages, and Vinicius feels there is more to come.

"As time went by, we were growing up in the competition. Every game that passes we are more confident and intertwined," he added.

"Today we play against a team that gives space, and when it gives space to us it is very complicated for the opponent. We have a lot of moves and personality to make a great game."

Brazil will clash with Croatia in the quarter-final, who defeated Japan on penalties earlier on Monday after a 1-1 draw.

Germany's national team director Oliver Bierhoff has left his role in the aftermath of the side's dismal World Cup campaign.

Bierhoff, who was a Euro 1996 winner and a runner-up at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea as a player, first assumed his role with the German Football Association (DFB) in 2004.

The former Milan forward oversaw Germany's fourth World Cup triumph in Brazil eight years ago, but the team have since suffered consecutive group-stage exits at the tournament, finishing behind Japan and Spain in Group E at this year's competition.

The likes of Philipp Lahm and Dietmar Hamann reacted to the team's elimination in Qatar by calling for significant changes in German football, and the first of those will see Bierhoff depart. 

DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said: "Oliver Bierhoff has rendered great services to the DFB. Even if the last tournaments fell short of the sporting goals, he stands for great moments. 

"His work will always be linked to the World Cup success in Brazil. Even in turbulent times, he always pursued his goals and visions and left a lasting mark on the DFB. 

"On behalf of the DFB employees, I would like to thank Oliver Bierhoff for everything he has done for us and for football in Germany."

Paulo Bento confirmed he will not renew his contract with South Korea after their World Cup exit by defeat to Brazil on Monday. Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta…
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Brazil paid tribute to legendary forward Pele following a commanding 4-1 victory over South Korea that sealed their World Cup quarter-final place. Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta were…

Brazil produced the best display of Qatar 2022 so far with an emphatic 4-1 victory over South Korea at Stadium 974 on Monday to set up a quarter-final tie with Croatia.

The Selecao were four goals up inside 36 minutes – only the second time in their World Cup history they have scored four times in the first half of a match – in a one-sided tie.

Neymar returned to Brazil's line-up – back to full strength after their 1-0 loss to Cameroon – and he netted from the penalty spot after Vinicius Junior had opened the scoring.

Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta put the game well out of reach and there was no way back for South Korea, though they did have a moment so savour courtesy of Paik Seung-ho's goal in the second half.

Raphinha pulled the ball back for Vinicius to curl into the top-right corner after seven minutes and Brazil had a quickfire second goal when Neymar converted from the penalty spot.

Richarlison won that penalty after being caught by Jung Woo-young, and he was himself among the goals when finishing after Thiago Silva picked him out with a first-time pass.

Brazil were completely out of sight by the interval as Paqueta rounded off another fine attack that culminated in Vinicius clipping the ball into his path to volley home.

A double change at the interval led to an improved display from South Korea, who after forcing Alisson into a few saves scored through a long-range Paik strike that took a deflection.

What does it mean? Samba stars put on a show

Brazil toiled for large parts of their wins over Serbia and Switzerland prior to suffering a shock defeat to Cameroon, but back at full strength here they laid down a real marker.

South Korea's first knockout-stage game in this competition since 2010 could not have gone much worse, with Tite's men out of sight well before half-time.

Five-time winners Brazil have advanced from their past eight World Cup last-16 ties and will now face 2018 beaten finalists Croatia, who earlier defeated Japan on penalties.

Brazil find their scoring touch

Brazil scored a rather underwhelming three goals from 57 shots in the group stage, compared to three goals from their first five efforts against South Korea.

The Selecao were a lot more clinical than they were in the first round, though their opponents' set-up also played right into their hands – a mistake Croatia will surely not make.

Returning Neymar back among the goals

Neymar was back in the side after missing the past two games through injury and he registered his 76th goal for Brazil, placing him one short of Pele's all-time record.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar, whose past six goals for the Selecao have come from the penalty spot, will look to match and surpass the Brazil great in Qatar.

What's next?

Brazil have that quarter-final tie with Croatia to look forward to in Al Rayyan on Friday, while South Korea's campaign in Qatar is now over.

Harry Kane saluted Jordan Henderson's leadership qualities following his goal in England's 3-0 victory over Senegal.

The Three Lions vice-captain opened the scoring with a neat first-time finish from Jude Bellingham's square pass while Kane doubled the lead, before Bukayo Saka's second-half strike secured the Three Lions' World Cup quarter-final place in Qatar.

Aged 32 years and 170 days, Henderson became England's second-oldest scorer at the finals, after Tom Finney against USSR in 1958 (36 years, 64 days).

Gareth Southgate's side have looked a more cohesive unit since the Liverpool skipper was introduced into the starting line-up for their final Group B match against Wales, and Kane highlighted his impact on the team.

"He's one of the best leaders that I've played with," the Three Lions captain told England's official YouTube channel. "He's really vocal, he pushes players to the absolute max.

"That's why he's been great in the games he's played. [He's} outstanding with the ball, outstanding without the ball, pushing everyone. The way we've been pressing – it's good to hear him behind me pushing.

"You need different types of leaders amongst your team. I think we have four or five different types of personalities.

"Hendo's someone who – it doesn't matter who you are, what you've done – he'll keep pushing you.

"It was an amazing performance [against Senegal] by him, [it was] great to see him score. A lot of the other good stuff was down to his role in the team."

Henderson has 73 caps to his name, but Sunday's goal was only his third on the international stage.

Jude Bellingham has been the best young player at the World Cup so far and could make the difference in England's bid to capture the trophy, according to Alan Shearer.

The Borussia Dortmund star scored England's first goal of the tournament in a 6-2 thrashing of Iran in the group stage, and produced another masterful midfield display in Sunday's last-16 win over Senegal.

Bellingham leads his team-mates for dribbles completed (six) and possessions won (23) in Qatar, while only Luke Shaw (72) has bettered his tally of 48 passes ending in the final third.  

The 19-year-old's all-round ability has seen him touted as a contender to be named the young player of the tournament, and Shearer believes his presence has improved England considerably. 

"England did very well at their past couple of tournaments, but I think there is a difference this time," the former striker wrote in a column for BBC Sport.

"Four years ago, we were not the most talented side at the World Cup, but we were well-organised, had fantastic team spirit and great character, and that took us to the semi-finals.

"This time we are definitely a better team, ability-wise, than we were at Russia 2018 or last year's European Championship where we lost in the final.

"We still have a plan, and that same togetherness, but we have more experience, more depth – and we have got a very exciting young talent in Jude Bellingham too.

"Bellingham has probably been the young player of this World Cup so far. His performance against Senegal was unbelievably good, and he brings something different to this England team that we didn't have four years ago.

"With him driving forward from midfield, we look more dangerous – we are far more fluid now when we build attacks, wherever they start."

England will face holders France for a place in the last four on Saturday, when Gareth Southgate's side must find a way to contain Kylian Mbappe – the tournament's top scorer with five goals. 

However, Shearer believes keeping the Paris Saint-Germain star quiet is no guarantee of success against Les Bleus.

"You need to do more than keep [Harry] Kane quiet to keep England out, and it is the same with France and Mbappe," he added.

"Antoine Griezmann and Adrien Rabiot are having brilliant tournaments, Aurelien Tchouameni has really impressed me and, while Ousmane Dembele can blow hot and cold, if he is on form that night then he is a handful.

"Then you have Olivier Giroud, of course, who is now France's record men's goalscorer. It could be a shoot-out between our front five and theirs – and it is going to be great to watch."

Reece James has returned to training with Chelsea after being omitted from England's World Cup squad due to injury.

The full-back was left out of Gareth Southgate's 26-man travelling squad to Qatar, where England face France in the quarter-finals on Saturday, after being sidelined since October 11 with a knee issue.

Southgate referenced "too many unknowns" over the Chelsea defender's recovery for leaving out James, who sustained the injury in a Champions League clash with Milan.

James spoke openly of his disappointment to miss out on FIFA's top tournament as he acknowledged "there was risk on both sides but it was one I was willing to take".

The 22-year-old returned to training on Monday for Chelsea's first session in Abu Dhabi at their warm-weather training camp as Graham Potter's side seek improvements after the World Cup break.

Chelsea lost their last three Premier League games before the mid-season interval to leave Potter's men eight points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, albeit with a game in hand.

A downturn in form coincided with losing numerous key players to injury, with Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell and Kepa Arrizabalaga joining James as absentees.

Fofana and Chilwell, the latter who also missed out on the World Cup with England due to injury, will hope to be fit for Chelsea's Premier League return at home to Bournemouth on December 27.

Chelsea next face Aston Villa in a mid-season friendly in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

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