World Cup 2018: 3 major lessons as Brazil beat Costa Rica
The World Cup Group E encounter between Brazil and Costa Rica at Saint-Petersburg Stadium was a nail biter. Costa Rica was superb in defense and kept Brazil relatively quiet in the first half.
Brazil started the game slowly, didn't look convincing early and wasted opportunities by shooting wide or over the bar. In the end, they managed to pull off 2 goals in stoppage time and won the game 2-0.
Brazil came out strong and with more determination to score by bringing on Douglas Costa in place of Willian. The header of Gabriel Jesus hit the bar and Neymar wasted a brilliant opportunity by shooting the ball wide and in the process not even testing Keylor Navas.
Neymar was brought down in the box in the 80th minute and was awarded the penalty by the referee. Being persuaded by the Costa Rican players, he checked the VAR and hence came to the decision that Neymar had overreacted. The decision was overturned and Costa Rica were awarded a free-kick.
The situation of the match changed in the 91st minute when Coutinho made a run inside the Costa Rican box and was provided the ball by Jesus to slot it in for making the score 1-0.
In the 97th minute, Brazil scored again with Neymar tapping the ball in from Douglas Costa's pass.
Having lost 1-0 to Serbia in their first game, Costa Rica with this unfortunate defeat have no chance of reaching the knockout stages.
Let us look at 3 main takeaways from the Brazil vs Costa Rica encounter.
#3 Costa Rica defended strongly in the first half
In the first-half Brazil dominated possession and were trying to penetrate the superb Costa Rican defense. Coutinho - the goal-scorer for Brazil in their last match against Switzerland had to see his two shots go over the bar.
Neymar had an excellent opportunity when Coutinho's wonderful through ball found him but was denied by the brilliant goal-keeping skills of Keylor Navas in a one on one situation.
Brazil got into the groove after 30 minutes, and Marcelo who had one shot on target out of his three was their best player in the first-half. The Costa Rican defense were determined not to concede and hence Keylor Navas had little to worry about.
They looked more threatening in their attack than Brazil but were less adventurous going forward and they concentrated more on defense. Costa Rica also did an excellent job of not giving sufficient space to Neymar to create something for Brazil.