FIFA World Cup 2018: Brazil v Costa Rica (Preview)
June 22, 2018 04:45 PM NPT
Brazil look to resolidify favourites status after rocky start
Costa Rica hoping for third time lucky
Riding in on a wave of expectation, with the painful end to the last FIFA World Cup seemingly just a footnote, Brazil did not get the all singing, all dancing start to Russia 2018 they were hoping for. Costa Rica, by contrast clinging onto the joyful memories from four years ago, similarly did not get going as they would have hoped.
Following an opening that promised much against Switzerland, Brazil’s spark fizzled as the clash in Rostov-on-Don progressed, before ultimately being pegged back by the resilient Alpine outfit. The team will have been buoyed by the news that Neymar trained on Wednesday having experienced some pain in his ankle the previous day.
There was always the chance of meeting the expectations superbly raised by Costa Rica’s run to the quarter-finals in Brazil. Serbia only edged them thanks to a sensational free-kick by Aleksandar Kolarov but they need to discover a cutting edge that was absent in their opener.
Team reporter analysis
The group stage offers national teams some margin of error but, with points left behind against Switzerland, Brazil are now required to embrace some urgency. Costa Rica are expected to provide another organised defensive unit, but hope to control the pace more. Tite still wants to see an electric performance, but with better decision-making and coolness in front of goal when the scoring opportunities come along. - Giancarlo Giampiero with Brazil
This is going to be the third meeting with Brazil at a World Cup and Costa Rica are all too aware they will be playing against the South Americans’ ‘Jogo Bonito’. While already difficult for Los Ticos, the fact Brazil will be looking for their first victory will likely only make getting a result even more challenging. But Costa Rica has an advantage, all too often they up their game against the big sides, so they will be saying 'bring it on' in the camp. - Diego Picado with Costa Rica
Did you know?
Zuber’s strike means Brazil have conceded in six consecutive World Cup games, having last kept a clean sheet in their second game of the 2014 edition, a 0-0 draw with Mexico. It equals their worst ever run, both between 1934-38 and 1998-2002.
Possible line-ups Brazil: Alisson; Fagner, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo; Casemiro, Paulinho; Willian, Philippe Coutinho, Neymar; Gabriel Jesus.
Costa Rica: Keylor Navas, Francisco Calvo, Oscar Duarte, Johnny Acosta, Giancarlo González, Cristian Gamboa, Celso Borges, David Guzman, Bryan Ruíz, Johan Venegas, Marco Urena.