Brazil suffered a 1-0 loss to Cameroon in its final group-stage match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Friday but still advanced to the round of 16 in the top spot of Group G.
One player stood out thanks to his energy and effort as Brazil rested most of its top players. Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli had an impressive showing and provided excitement for the fans at Lusail Stadium.
Making his first start for Brazil, Martinelli put pressure on Cameroon's defenders early and often. The 21-year-old Arsenal star put three shots on goal, the first on a header in the 14th minute that was saved by Cameroon goalkeeper Devis Epassy.
He sent another shot on goal in stoppage time before the end of the first half and again in the 56th minute, both of which Epassy saved as part of his eight saves in the shutout. Martinelli's last attempt in stoppage time was off the mark.
Observers on social media were impressed by Martinelli's standout performance for Brazil, and many hope to see more of him during the knockout stage:
BBC Sport @BBCSport
The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FIFAWorldCup?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FIFAWorldCup</a> is not a bad place to make your first start for Brazil 🇧🇷<br><br>Gabriel Martinelli does not look out of place 💫<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BBCFootball?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BBCFootball</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BBCWorldCup?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BBCWorldCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/kjdRLKkibp">pic.twitter.com/kjdRLKkibp</a>
⋆𝗡𝗲𝘆𝗺𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲 🇧🇷 @Neymoleque
Half time thoughts:<br><br>- Martinelli has been electrifying, our best player in the first half<br>- Rodrygo started timid but started to find his groove<br>- Antony started off strong but faded away<br>- Gabriel Jesus has been non existent, would like to see Pedro come on for him
Brazil is slated to face South Korea on Monday in the round of 16. The team will be motivated to get a better result, and it has found a weapon in Martinelli.
As the favorite to win the tournament, Brazil should use every weapon at its disposal, and the youngster could play a big role as the team tries to win a sixth World Cup title.