Published: Tue, June 26, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter



Brazil are otherwise unchanged as Tite announced their squad on Thursday with the news that Neymar is expected to start.

He told the gathered media after the game, "It kind of pulled a muscle - it tore some fibres, I think".

As the final in the second Group E whistle went, emotions appeared to overwhelm Neymar, who collapsed on his knees, crying as he prayed. Both goals flew into the gate of Keilor Navas in injury time.

Barcelona's Coutinho, who scored with a brilliant strike in the opening game, failed to find his range and Chelsea's Willian, taken off at half-time, was very bad on the right.

It looked for a long time like the Central Americans would survive the relentless waves of Brazilian attack in St. Petersburg, their defense and goalkeeper Keylor Navas lasting more than 90 minutes before being breached.

Whilst I am sure the vast majority of you will have this match pencilled down as a win for Brazil, I have a sneaky suspicion that it is going to go the way of Costa Rica, but either way it will certainly be a match that I will be watching.

Neymar is Brazil's star attraction at the World Cup and got on the scoresheet to round off Friday's dramatic 2-0 win against Los Ticos in Group E.

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"When he (Neymar) draws the foul he is in front of goal", Tite said.

They have bought themselves, and Neymar, precious time.

The Semanario Universidad newspaper wrote "The Sele (selection) bids goodbye to Russian Federation in the most cruel banner", while also praising Costa Rica's defensive masterclass against Brazil. We don't need any help, the players don't need help, I don't want help.

The first was beautifully placed by Philippe Coutinho and the second by Neymar Jr. The penalty was awarded after a video review showed that Alfred Finnbogason had been brought down by Tyronne Ebuehi. Serbia's loss against Switzerland in the other Group E game on the same night means Brazil will now have to beat Serbia to make it to the knockout stages.

That was an apt reflection of how tense the match had been, with Costa Rica's flat-back five keeping Neymar on the periphery, as Johan Venegas and Cristian Gamboa man-marked him out of the game.

Firmino also played a vital role in Brazil's victory as his presence added a scoring threat and his positioning allowed him to head the ball towards Coutinho to score the game's first goal. Romario was the team's top striker when Brazil won the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

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