Brazil team-mates defend Neymar after his on-pitch theatrics draw criticism

Brazil team-mates defend Neymar after his on-pitch theatrics draw criticism

Brazil team-mates defend Neymar after his on-pitch theatrics draw criticism

The result on Saturday (NZ time) leaves the five-times world champions with four points from two games after they drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their opening match. "That was what happened".

Brazil's best chance came about halfway through the first as Neymar streaked behind Costa Rica's defense only to meet Real Madrid's, Keylor Navas, who came out for the block.

It took until virtually the last kick after 96 minutes of frustration, but Neymar and Brazil have lift-off at the World Cup.

Carles, from Sao Paolo, told RT Sport: "I think the old one is not good, but he has a new one for today".

"It's [head coach] Tite's decision on who is better at the moment to get on the pitch".

It almost worked. Kuipers scolded Neymar to stop yapping at him about uncalled fouls, then delivered a yellow card when Neymar slammed the ball with his hand after yet another didn't go his way. Both the teams are in group E and are playing their second match of the group stage.

Coutinho got the victor in the 91st minute, and Neymar got his goal later in stoppage time as the South Americans move to four points in Group F and have a little breathing room with one match to play.

Then, just in the nick of time, Brazil did turn into some version of Brazil: not the fancy one but the one that almost always gets the results they need.

Only a fingertip over the crossbar denied Neymar when he met Douglas Costa's cutback sweetly on the volley on 55 minutes, and the goalkeeper stood tall again when Coutinho ran onto a layoff from Jesus.

After being knocked to the ground by over-zealous players celebrating the win, spectators drew swift comparisons to his striker.

This time, Tite stayed as far away from Ederson as possible and escaped unscathed.

He last wore the armband during a 1-0 defeat by Argentina in June, that friendly loss in Australia being the only defeat suffered by coach Tite's Brazil in the last 22 games.

"Neymar is fine. I'm a boy, he's a boy - a joyful boy", Jesus said. "It tore some fibres". Tite said he was proud of his captain for having the courage to show publicly "the joy, satisfaction and pride in representing Brazil".

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