Brazil vs Costa Rica: 5 Talking Points, World Cup 2018
Brazil beat Costa Rica 2-0 in their second World Cup encounter at the St. Petersburg Stadium in Moscow on Friday to top Group E. Goals from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar - both of which came in stoppage time - were enough for the Selecao to seal the win after being frustrated by their South American counterparts for 90 minutes.
Here are the major talking points from the game.
#1 Costa Rica's strategy - foul Neymar
Every Brazil attack invariably goes through Neymar on the left. One of Tite's strategies for moving the ball forward is to use Marcelo, Philippe Coutinho, and Neymar form triangles out on the left.
But Costa Rica knew that if they stopped Neymar, they could stop Brazil in their tracks. Coutinho does not have the pace to beat defenders and with Costa Rica playing a back-five when they were not in possession, the Barcelona man was kept in check.
Neymar, on the other hand, received more attention from the Costa Rica defenders than he would have liked. Every time he got on the ball - be it near the touchline or when he drifted towards the centre - they looked to stop him in his tracks immediately.
Time and again the PSG forward was fouled and brought down. But Costa Rica were wary enough not to be too reckless and avoided any further punishment from the referee.
The fouls weren't exactly worthy of bookings, but they were calculated risks which were very effective in keeping him on a leash and bringing down the tempo of the game to avoid getting overrun.