The jig of joy seven minutes after his Olympic debut showed why Richardson was so determined to be allowed by Everton to come to Japan.
Even if it meant fulfilling a double obligation with Brazil and prolonging the season even further and delaying his entry into the English club’s new campaign in the Premier League.
Wearing the famous gold T-shirt No. 10 in Brazil, the 24-year-old striker wasted no time with his Olympic opportunity.
Just 11 days after losing the Copa America final to Argentina in Rio de Janeiro and now 10 time zones away from Brazil under 23, Richardson scored a hat-trick in the opening half-hour against Germany on Thursday.
This helped Brazil open the men’s 4-2 football tournament.
And he started in the 7th minute with a rebound after his initial shot was blocked by German goalkeeper Florian Müller before leading his teammates to dance.
The players needed the greatest possible atmosphere with only artificial noise from the crowd in Yokohama, as the pandemic closed the spectators from this stadium with a capacity of over 70,000.
Richardson did not wait long to celebrate again – heading past Mueller on the 22nd and curling on the third in the 30th.
It was a cushion that ensured that Brazil resisted Germany’s attempt to return in the second half when Nadiem Amiri and Ragnar Ace reduced the deficit to 3-2. There would be no equalizer with Paulinho’s goal deep in the stoppage time, ending Brazil’s victory.
This gave Brazil an early Group D lead over Côte d’Ivoire, which beat Saudi Arabia earlier at the same stadium with a 2-1 victory over AC Milan midfielder Frank Casey.
The two-time Olympic champion Argentina was stunned with 2-0 by Australia. In their first Olympic game since 2008, Australia took the lead through the hole of Lachlan Wells in the 14th minute at Sapporo Dome.
Argentina kicked out Francisco Ortega after being penalized twice late in the first half. Marco Tilio then secured the victory in the 80’s, just a minute after leaving the bench.
Australia is at the top of Group C ahead of Egypt and Spain, who drew 0-0 in the other game.
The empty stadium is not what Japanese athletes imagined competing for the first time in Tokyo at their home Olympics.
At least the men’s soccer team opened with a victory – a day before the opening ceremony of the games affected by the pandemic.
Takefusa Kubo scored the only goal with a curling shot from the crossbar in the 71st minute, which won a 1-0 victory over South Africa at the stadium in Tokyo.
Cubo is a 20-year-old striker signed for Real Madrid who has not yet played for the Spanish giants while gaining experience from the first team elsewhere in La Liga.
In the other Group A game, Mexico beat France 4-1 with four goals in the second half. Alexis Vega headed in the opening of Mexico in the 46th minute, and Sebastian Cordova doubled the lead with a volley in the 55th.
France striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, who plays in Mexico’s best division with Tiger, pulled one of the penalties in the 69th. Uriel Antuna and Eduardo Aguirre increased Mexico’s clear lead in the last 10 minutes.
Chris Wood’s goal gave New Zealand a 1-0 victory over South Korea at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, where several hundred fans were allowed, as it is just outside Tokyo and is not in the same state of emergency as the capital.
The 29-year-old Wood is one of three New Zealand players allowed on a team made up mostly of players under the age of 23.
In the other Group B match, Romania also beat Honduras 1-0.