Brazil came out unscathed from their second group stage match against Costa Rica, grabbing a late 2-0 win, their first of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
For a long period of time in the game, it looked like Costa Rica had managed to do the unthinkable – to stop Brazil from scoring. Neymar & co. grew increasingly frustrated with each passing minute as they were unable to get the ball past Keylor Navas into the net.
But, a stroke of luck saw Brazil score the opener towards the end of the game. Douglas Costa’s grounded cross fell to Gabriel Jesus inside the box, whose first-touch saw the ball move away from him. Just as people thought the chance was gone, Philippe Coutinho arrived and scored his second of the campaign to give Brazil the lead.
Neymar then doubled the lead in stoppage time after a simple layup from Douglas Costa. We take a look at three players who influenced the result of the game.
Neymar, like in the match against Switzerland, did not have the best of games in terms of impact. But, the Brazilian kept going at it, clutching at straws. One could say he shined throughout the game, including moments where he did for the wrong reasons.
Simulation is something Neymar will have to keep in check. But, the PSG man was trying to push Brazil towards the winner. He might not have had a hand in the opener, but he made sure he gave the nation’s goal difference an extra cushion.
And he did produce a moment of magic for his fans, with his Around the World showboating towards the corner flag. Not everything Neymar tried paid off. But, for a player of his calibre, it just seems like a matter of time. Tite and the Brazilian fans would hope that is the case.
If there is someone who needed a good World Cup, it was Philippe Coutinho. The player has had a bright start to his Barcelona career. But, there has often been questions asked as to his ability to play in central midfield. In Tite’s tactical style, Coutinho has managed to impress in a midfield three.
Granted, Coutinho and Paulinho are the more adventurous of the two in midfield. But, the Barcelona man has made sure his ability is on full display. From a long ranged curler against Switzerland to a poacher’s effort against Costa Rica.
With Neymar not really getting started as of now, it has been the Philippe Coutinho show so far. And, the playmaker is tipped to continue doing so against brighter opposition.
Tite might just have to change his preferred starting eleven that has been there in the entirety of 2018. And if there’s one reason for it, it’s Douglas Costa. The player had a sprightly cameo against Switzerland. But, it is his display against Costa Rica that will likely prove to be a threat to Willian’s place in the starting eleven.
Costa ended the game with an assist and a hand in both the goals. That was not it, as he dribbled the Costa Rican players out of the park and was too much to handle for Oscar Duarte & co.
Quite a few eyebrows will be raised if Douglas Costa doesn’t start against Serbia.