World Cup: Brazil v Costa Rica
Forward Neymar will be in Brazil’s starting XI for Friday’s Group E clash with Costa Rica despite hobbling out of a training session on Tuesday.
The Paris St-Germain forward, who broke a bone in his right foot in February, felt pain in his right ankle but took part in another session on Wednesday.
Costa Rica will look to emulate Switzerland’s efforts against Tite’s side, who had to settle for a point.
Los Ticos now face an uphill task to progress after losing 1-0 to Serbia.
Brazil began the World Cup as one of the favourites, but opened up in underwhelming fashion by drawing with Switzerland, despite going ahead through Philippe Coutinho’s wonderful, curling effort.
However, the five-time champions, appearing in their 21st consecutive tournament, will not worry about qualifying for the knockout phase just yet.
Unbeaten in their last 13 World Cup group games, winning 10 and drawing three, Brazil have topped their first-round group in every World Cup since 1982 and last failed to progress past this stage in 1966.
While Costa Rica will not have given up on progressing to the knockout stages for a second consecutive finals, manager Oscar Ramirez will need to retune his team offensively.
Penalty shootouts excluded, Costa Rica were one of only three sides to remain unbeaten in the 2014 World Cup but have toiled in front of goal at the finals, scoring just once in their last four World Cup games.
They sprung a surprise by progressing in a group consisting of Uruguay, Italy and England four years ago – but have it all to do now in Russia.
VIEW FROM BOTH CAMPS
Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho: “We said after the last game we need to improve. All games are like a final, even more so in the World Cup. We need to take responsibility and our heads have to be in the right place. This game is important and we’re looking for three points.
“We spoke about the possibilities and the ways to qualify and points, we had a meeting about that but we take to the field aiming to win.”
Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz: “Switzerland pressed them in midfield and that’s what you need to do because everybody knows that Brazil are best from midfield going forward.
“We need to win the ball back quickly and counter-attack quickly.”
- Brazil have won nine of their 10 previous internationals against Costa Rica, losing only in a friendly in March 1960.
- This is the third meeting between Brazil and Costa Rica at the World Cup, with the former inflicting Costa Rica’s first-ever defeat on them at the tournament in 1990 (1-0), before a 5-2 victory in 2002.
- Philippe Coutinho’s goal against Switzerland was his 11th for Brazil – five of those have come from outside the box.
- Brazil are winless in three World Cup matches (D1 L2), their worst run since June 1978, when they went four matches without a win.
- Brazil conceded from the first shot on target they faced at the 2018 World Cup – from their last 13 shots on target faced at the World Cup, they have conceded 10 goals.
- Brazil’s Neymar was fouled 10 times in their opening match against Switzerland – it was the most a player has been fouled in a World Cup match since 1998, when England striker Alan Shearer was fouled 11 times against Tunisia.
- Costa Rica’s only previous World Cup victory against South American opposition came in the 2014 tournament (3-1 vs Uruguay).
- Costa Rica lost their first match against Serbia, ending a five-game unbeaten run at the World Cup finals – they haven’t lost back-to-back World Cup games since June 2006, when they lost four in a row.
- Against Serbia, striker Marco Urena had just 14 touches in 67 minutes for Costa Rica, with three of those in the opposition box – his replacement, Joel Campbell, had 24 touches and four in the opposition box.
- Costa Rica have scored from just one of their last 31 shots at the World Cup.
MOST RECENT MEETING
Brazil 1-0 Costa Rica (5 September 2015)
‘Brazil 84% chance of progressing’
Football statisticians Gracenote Sports believe Brazil have a 84% chance of progressing through the group.
Gracenote Sports head of analysis, Simon Gleave, said: “An opening match draw against the second-best team in the group is never a disaster so Brazil’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland still leaves the Brazilians with an 84% chance of reaching the last 16. That makes Brazil the sixth likeliest team in the last 16 after the opening matches. Brazil do need to record a victory against Costa Rica, though, to stop their chance declining still further.”