We pick Gabriel Jesus, Bryan Ruiz and Philippe Coutinho as the three players who can influence the result as Brazil take on Costa Rica in Group E at the World Cup.
Brazil were held by Switzerland and go into the match against Costa Rica, knowing that they need a win in order to be safe in terms of their hopes of qualifying for the next stage of the competition. The World Cup has already thrown in quite a few surprises and Tite will hope his side can avoid being one of the upsets.
Costa Rica were perhaps, lucky to be beaten by a narrow scoreline despite a woeful performance from the entire squad. The shock-providers of the 2014 edition though, are still in with a chance to qualify and will be eager to be the next team to serve up an upset at the 2018 World Cup.
We take a look at three players who can influence the result.
Gabriel Jesus’ performance stats vs Switzerland:
0 shots on target
0 chances created
0/4 dribbles completed
53% pass accuracy
A day to forget for the youngster 🙈 pic.twitter.com/Yo7Ve6epq7
— ShotOnGoal (@shotongoal247) June 17, 2018
Gabriel Jesus will not need a whole lot of reminding of just how poor his display against Switzerland was. The Manchester City striker was almost non-existent and would be lucky to still be in the starting lineup against Costa Rica. But, if there is anything that has become a highlight under Tite, it is his willingness to put his faith in his starters, meaning Jesus will get another chance to impress.
With Neymar not fully fit and bearing the brunt of opposition, it will be up to Gabriel Jesus to show his magic and wit upfront.
If Jesus’s performance was poor, Bryan Ruiz’s was 10 times worse. Unlike Jesus, Ruiz is the central figure of the Costa Rican attack. Everything flows through the former Fulham star. But, the playmaker was unable to influence the proceedings against Serbia and was often relegated to uninspiring long ranged attempts.
Captain of the nation, the player is expected to lead from the front. And with Costa Rica facing the prospect of elimination, it will be up to Bryan Ruiz to pump up his performance levels.
On the day when the likes of Neymar and Gabriel Jesus faltered, Philippe Coutinho stepped up to make his mark and open Brazil’s account at the 2018 World Cup. Bearing in mind that Brazil had won each and every game that Coutinho had scored in, it wasn’t meant to be as Switzerland secured a draw.
Still, Coutinho’s ability from long range will always be a threat, especially with the likes of Neymar and Gabriel Jesus likely to draw the focus of the defenders to themselves. Can the Barcelona man score again?