Costa Rica fails to repeat World Cup heroics of 2014

Doug Mendoza
June 25, 2018

Philippe Coutinho scored in the first minute of stoppage time, and Neymar followed six minutes later to give Brazil a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica on Friday at the World Cup.

"The demands on the players here at the World Cup are huge", Ronaldo, who won the World Cup in 1994 and 2002, said in a TV Globo broadcast.

Having been frustrated for nearly the entire game, Coutinho poked the ball past Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas one minute into stoppage time before Neymar's volley wrapped up the points for a relieved Brazil.

The relief of sealing Brazil's first win in Russian Federation was all too visible as Neymar broke down in tears moments after tapping home Douglas Costa's cross for victory.

While Neymar's rehabilitation was fast-tracked in order for him to play a full part in Brazil's World Cup campaign, Jesus does not have similar guarantees over his starting position at centre forward.

After a draw in their opening match against Switzerland, the Brazilians faced their South American rivals in Costa Rica and it was surprisingly competitive with Brazil desperately trying to find a way to score while Costa Rica were resolute in defending their goal.

Late in the second half the referee awarded Brazil a penalty when he ruled Neymar had been brought down by a Costa Rican defender.

As the final in the second Group E whistle went, emotions appeared to overwhelm Neymar, who collapsed on his knees, crying as he prayed.

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"Not everyone knows what I've overcome to get here", Neymar said on Instagram. The U.S. broadcast on Fox Sports 1 did not pick up Neymar's outburst.

"The joy, the satisfaction, and the pride of representing the Brazilian national team is a lot", Tite told reporters. Costa Rica has been eliminated.

The biggest news for Brazil and their fans is that star man Neymar has been declared fit for the game and will be leading the line for his country as they look to move on from that draw against Switzerland.

"They are a good team".

Even when Navas was beaten, Neymar curled inches wide as he bore down on goal midway through the second half. "Of course we want to win".

The second match of the day is the one in which Nigeria are playing against Iceland, and it is very true to say that both teams have not been stars on the pitch during the Group Stages, and as such this is a fairly hard match to call regarding which team is likely to win it.

Brazil coach Tite announced his team the day before the game, with injured right back Danilo replaced by Fagner.

Tite was unfazed about handing him the armband for a game that he described as a "decisive match that we need to win to continue in the tournament".

Other reports by GizPress

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