- Navas and Costa Rica held Brazil for 90 minutes.
- Coutinho and Neymar scored two injury time goals.
- Referee awarded spot kick in favour of Brazil and then ruled that out after review.
A dramatic double from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar, resulted in a 2-0 win for Brazil in their Group E match with Costa Rica in St. Petersburg.
After the fate Messi had with Croatia, Brazil number 10 Neymar had been frustrated by Switzerland as Brazil was held in Rostov 1-1. Neymar, was fouled record time during the match, that prompted the Brazilian No. 10 to issue a statement for Referees. Today he seemed to be determined enough not to repeat Messi.
When the match kicked off, Neymar showed wonderful understanding with Gabriel Jesus, while operating from deep down to provide Manchester City man enough space.
Brazil had a first half penalty shout when Paulinho was wrestled to floor in the box while challenging a Willian corner, but the referee Bjorn Kuipers did not consider that for review. At best, the appeals looked soft.
After the restart and the game’s two main protagonists started with much of the same intent as they did the first half. Only the body of Keylor Navas prevented Neymar from slotting home from close range, before Jesus’ header tantalisingly hit the bar moments later.
Brazil was awarded a penalty after Neymar was held back inside the box while attempting a turn. Costa Rica players protested demanding a review as the VAR intervenned. Dutch ref Kuipers reviewed the incident in Review are and dramatically turned down the spot kick and instead gave a free-kick to Costa Rica.
Everybody was almost prepared for a goal-less draw. At 91st minute Marcelo crossed found Gabriel Jesus, who headed down and then flicked it for Philippe Coutinho to plunge into net from close range. Moments later, Brazil doubled their lead when Douglas Costa squared for Neymar; Neymar made no mistake.
With the win, Brazil go top of Group E with 4 points, while Costa Rica are consigned to an early World Cup exit after two consecutive losses.
“It was a tough game, as we expected it would be, but we were aiming for a victory from the first minute. We showed a lot of patience until the end of the game and were rewarded with those two goals. Costa Rica is a team with a lot of quality, strong in defence and midfield, and the most important thing for us was not giving up until the last minute. It’s something the professor (Tite) always highlights – being mentally strong until the end.” – Philippe Coutinho, Budweiser Man of the Match commented.
“We had a plan, a strategy, for this match, and our idea was to control our opponents with and without the ball. During the first half, we had enough possession and created some opportunities. We knew Brazil’s strengths, we wanted to minimise those strengths and we managed to do that for 91 minutes. It was clearly more difficult for us in the second half – they made changed that made things tougher for us – but I thought we played a good game. Unfortunately at the end we just couldn’t see it out.” Oscar Ramirez, Costa Rica coach said.
Brazil (4-4-2 ):
GK: Allison Becker
D: Fagner, Filipe Luís, Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Miranda,
M: Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho (Roberto Firmino, 68′), Willian (Douglas Costa, 46′)
F: Neymar, Gabriel Jesus (Fernandinho , 93′)
Costa Rica (5-3-2 ):
GK: Keylor Navas
D: Cristian Gamboa (F. Calvo, 75′), Johnny Acosta, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Oscar Duarte, Bryan Oviedo(C);
M: Celso Borges, David Guzman (Y. Tejeda , 83′), Bryan Ruiz;
F: Johan Venegas, Marcos Urena (C. Bolaños, 54′);