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.
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.