Brazil secure vital 2-0 victory over Costa Rica

Brazil secure vital 2-0 victory over Costa Rica

Brazil secure vital 2-0 victory over Costa Rica

Heading into the match, five-time champions were hoping to get their campaign at the showpiece event back on track following their disappointing 1-1 draw against Switzerland in the opening match.

Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the spot before heeding the protests of the Costa Rican players and consulting the video assistant referee (VAR).

In the second half, Brazil were more aggressive but Costa Rica still found a way to stop them in the final third by switching their 3-4-2-1 formation to a 5-4-1 whenever the Brazilians tried to pounce into their penalty box.

Neymar dropped to his knees after the final whistle, sobbing in his hands as his teammates surrounded him and then lifted him off the ground.

"He had a knock, but I think it was the first time in three-and-a-half months he played 90 minutes", Tite said.

Costa Rica's only previous World Cup victory against South American opposition came in the 2014 tournament (3-1 vs Uruguay). In danger of ending in a draw, Brazil seemed nervous but composed itself through the seven minutes of injury time.

How much an emotional victory proves to be a launch pad rather than a false dawn remains to be seen as the pre-tournament favourites made heavy work of a Costa Rica side that have now lost their past four games.

Neymar has been involved in 18 goals in his last 17 appearances for Brazil (10 goals, eight assists). I was going to celebrate with them but I had to limp back!'

This resulted in a new dimension on the offensive end for the Brazilians as they were more threatening on the flanks with Douglas Costa's talent and movement - creating more space for the attackers to move forward.

The competition's most decorated nation were in danger of failing to win either of their first two games in Russian Federation before Coutinho prodded in a stoppage-time opener and Neymar added a second in a 2-0 success.

The match between Brazil and Serbia in Moscow on Wednesday could yet determine which teams finish in first and second place in Group E.

The question now is how he approaches the last group game against Serbia.

Brazil's Neymar takes a tumble and is awarded a penalty, later reversed.

"We want to win, it's a World Cup, but the coach is not going to play with the players' health".

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