Brazil Finally Finds the Net and Keeps World Cup Hopes Alive

Brazil saved the game, and maybe its World Cup, with an injury-time goal over Costa Rica on Friday in St. Petersburg.

After dominating the action for 90 minutes, but finding frustration from Costa Rica’s dogged defense and keeper Keylor Navas, Brazil finally broke through on a goal by Philippe Coutinho in the 91st minute. Neymar added another goal in 97th minute for a 2-0 win.

Brazil controlled the whole game and led in shots, 23-4. But it could not score for 90 minutes, in part because of Costa Rica’s famous defense and Navas, and in part because of poor finishing.

With 10 minutes to play, it appeared that Brazil had won a penalty. But a video review judged that he had gone down a bit too easily, and it was reversed.

With 90 minutes gone, Brazil seemed in dire shape. Having drawn its opener, it was looking at 2 points from two games and a possible early exit from the Cup.

But Roberto Firmino headed a cross by Marcelo, and Gabriel Jesus made a beautiful little touch pass to an onrushing Coutinho, who smashed it in.

The goal deflated Costa Rica, and it seemed almost no surprise that a second went in before time, with Neymar punching it home.

The loss eliminates Costa Rica. Brazil has not clinched a berth in the second round, but probably only needs a draw against Serbia now, rather than a win.

Full Time: Brazil 2, Costa Rica 0

Brazil saved the game, and maybe its World Cup, with a stoppage-time goal over Costa Rica on Friday in St. Petersburg. After dominating the action for 90 minutes, but finding frustration from Costa Rica’s dogged defense and keeper Keylor Navas, Brazil finally broke through on a goal by Philippe Coutinho in the 91st minute. Neymar added another goal in 97th minute for a 2-0 win.

90’ + 5: GOAL! Neymar Adds One

Brazil gets a second as time expires. Casemiro finds Douglas Costa in the area, who plays a little two-on-none with Neymar. Brazil’s previously-frustrated star slots it home. That one had to feel good after a game’s worth of struggle.

90’ + 3: Brazil Still Firing

Brazil almost scored again when Coutinho found an open Firmino, but his shot sailed wide.

90’ +1: GOAL! Coutinho Delivers

Coutinho finally, finally scores.

Firmino headed a cross by Marcelo, then Jesus made a little touch pass to an onrushing Coutinho, who smashed it in.

90’: Stoppage Time

Six more minutes for Brazil.

89’: Another Chance for Brazil, but No Score

Neymar dribbles it up, launches it into the area, but Navas fists it away.

87’: Navas in the Right Spot

Casemiro from distance, again right to the keeper. But there will be a free kick for Brazil after the two Costa Ricans currently rolling around get up.

85’: Brazil Still Shooting

Coutinho with another shot, but it’s right to Navas.

82’: Yellows for Neymar and Coutinho

Yellow to Neymar for spiking the ball in disgust. Costa Rica’s Acosta went down and acted out an injury, delaying play. Neymar wasn’t having it and let the referee know. Yellow. Coutinho gets involved as well. Yellow. Brazil is getting very frustrated, to say the least.

80’: Penalty! No Penalty!

Penalty to Brazil! A breakaway leads to Neymar with the ball just in front of goal. Gonzalez goes over to him and, well, tugs him slightly and leans into him. Neymar sells it hard, and gets the call. But a video review is called, and the penalty is reversed.

Matthew Futterman: This building nearly exploded with that reversed penalty call.

78’: Coutinho Takes a Turn

A little chip by Coutinho hovers in the air, pregnant with possibility. But it’s keeper Navas who gets there first.

77’: Costa Rica Firm Again

Neymar’s shot is blocked, leading to another corner by Neymar. Which is headed away. Full points to Costa Rica’s defense, which is tireless.

72’ The Goal Gets Smaller for Brazil

Neymar on the move after a steal, belts one high and wide. He should have done better. Brazil is looking less fluid, a little, maybe, desperate? Brazil leads in shots 16-4 now.

71’: Corner. Header. Save.

Casemiro with a header off a Neymar corner. Saved. Just before that, Neymar went tumbling in the box, but the referee had none of it.

69’: Firmino On for Brazil

Brazil will try to find a goal from Roberto Firmino of Liverpool, removing Paulinho.

68’: A Scare for Brazil

The ball bounces off six or seven heads in the Brazil area. Not a shot exactly, but plenty scary for Brazil.

64’: Neymar Fires, Navas Saves

Neymar’s shot from just outside the box bounces off of Navas, but no one is there to capitalize. Time is shortening … Brazil would be in a real bother in the group if it can only get a draw here.

Matthew Futterman: If Brazil can get one they will probably get three. But Costa Rica seems like it really believes it can escape this match with a draw.

62’: Counter Attack Leads Nowhere

Corner for Costa Rica after a long ball forces two clearances by Brazilian heads. Then Brazil breaks the other way with a 3-on-2 but it comes to nothing.

58’: Navas Saves Again

Costa sends a pass into the area for Jesus, who tips it to Coutinho, who’s ready to fire away. His shot goes right to Navas, who spills it for a split second, but collects.

57’: Neymar Misses

Paulinho with the steal, the cross to Neymar in the box … but he puts it over the bar.

51’: Brazil Attacking Relentlessly

Gabriel Jesus off the crossbar! Coutinho wide! Corner after corner. Brazil is creating chances every moment. They had Navas beat, but Jesus’s header struck the bar solidly. That was Brazil’s best chance at a goal so far.

49’: Brazil Threatens Immediately

Coutinho sends it in and Neymar gets to the ball just in front of goal. But Navas is there first and there’s a collision. Not a shot officially, but perhaps the closest to a Brazilian goal so far.

46’: Can Brazil Break Down Costa’s Rica’s Defenses?

While Brazil dominated the half, the consensus of the instapundits online seems to be that they were terrible. Memories of great Brazilian teams of the past always create sky-high expectations for Brazil. Let’s see if they can break down Costa Rica in the last 45 minutes.

Halftime: Brazil Attacking, but Not Finishing

Brazil leads in shots, 7-3, but officially only one was on target (none of Costa Rica’s were). More incisive finishing is needed in the second half. Brazil also leads in possession, 64-36, and pass accuracy by a big margin of 89-70.

45’: Costa Rica’s Defense Doing the Job

Once again, Brazil brings the ball up facing an eight-man defense. It’s a successful tactic for Costa Rica so far.

42’: Navas Takes It Easy

Marcelo shoots from just outside the area, drawing a fairly easy save from Navas on the near post.

Matthew Futterman: Willian is officially having a terrible game. Brazil is resorting to begging for fouls on their deep attacks but referee Bjorn Kuipers is having none of it.

39’: Costa Rica Counters, but Offside

A corner by Willian goes astray, and Costa Rica go for the long ball. It’s two-on-two, have they caught Brazil napping? No, it’s offside.

Andrew Das: Brazil’s been uncharacteristic sloppy. Or maybe characteristically sloppy, given their imprecise performances here. Whatever it is, they’re going to need to tighten up —or get something really special — to beat Keylor Navas.

32’: Oviedo Saves One for Costa Rica

Neymar crosses the ball right in front of goal and Oviedo of Costa Rica makes the saving header. This is skillful attacking soccer by Brazil. They have 68 percent of possession and really have done enough to deserve a goal here.

Matthew Futterman: Brazil could score six goals in the next eight minutes, or in any eight minutes, but it’s hard to argue that this team looks particularly sharp. Compared with the lightning-fast cutting and zig-zagging the team is usually known for, they are playing crazily slow. They’ve looked like any other team for much of the first half. Just very basic.

30’: Brazil on the Attack

More shots from Brazil. Coutinho gets a good look but hits it over. Costa Rica can’t get it out of their end.

29’: Marcelo Off Target

Marcelo takes the shot himself this time after a turnover, and it goes two feet wide. All Brazil right now.

27’: Offside!

Marcelo with a steal, to Neymar — scary for Costa Rica here — into the box for Gabriel Jesus … he’s wide open and puts it in the net. But he’s offsides!

Replays confirm the call was correct.

25’: Costa Rica Holding Firm

Costa Rica’s defense has a deserved reputation as a lockbox, and Brazil has not yet been able to pick it open,

24’: Neymar Banged Around

Neymar’s now been fouled three times. Another free kick, but Thiago Silva heads it wide.

20’: Contact With the Keeper

Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas is about to make a throw when Miranda barges into him. He’s annoyed but the ref lets it go.

17’: Costa Rica Clears

Neymar appears fine, if not 100 percent. Another free kick for the Brazilian star, from further out this time, is headed clear.

16’: Neymar Goes Down

A worrying moment for Brazil fans as Neymar goes down, possibly with an ankle injury. He looks pained, but is soon up again.

16’: Costa Rica Threatens

Casemiro’s back quickly, and Ruiz gets a dangerous touch in the box for Costa Rica, though it goes nowhere fast.

Matthew Futterman: Even before Costa Rica mounted this mini-surge of aggressiveness, the Brazilian fans were growing very restless with the Selecao’s patience. Lots of whistles emanating from the stands. Brazil has the double pressure of having to win and win with style. A plodding 1-0 win even over a team that plays with five men in the back line doesn’t fly in Rio in Sao Paulo.

13’: Casemiro Gets Bloodied

A brief delay while Casemiro of Brazil heads to the bench with a bloody nose. But this is soccer, so play resumes quickly.

11’: Neymar’s First Free Kick

Neymar’s free kick to the back post is headed clear by Costa Rica, who hoof it up the field.

Matthew Futterman: Costa Rica is doing what Costa Rica does, but even more so. They have spent most of the first 10 minutes with their entire team behind the ball. Their only means of attack is sending the ball forward when they do get it to a lone Marcos Urena. Poor guy is left to try to beat two defenders and a goalie on his own. That’s probably not going to go so well.

7’: Gamboa Shoots … Not Close

A pretty good spell of possession for Costa Rica ends with Gamboa bombing a shot from miles away that goes way over.

6’: Costa Rica Plays Long Ball

Costa Rica tips its strategic hand for this game by booting the ball far downfield. Brazil’s Thiago Silva handles it.

4’: Close Call for Brazil

Gabriel Jesus is the first to get the ball in a dangerous position for Brazil. He is dispossessed, but the ball comes out to Coutinho, who sails it over the bar.

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