Brazil – 2
Costa Rica – 0
Brazil almost secured its place in the next round of the Russia World Cup after it scored 2-0 against Costa Rica. Philippe Coutinho and Neymar broke down sturdy Costa Rica in injury time to get the five-times world champions up and running in their pursuit of a sixth title.
Brazil were not impressive in the first half but pressed for goals in more fast-paced second period. However, they lacked poise in front of goal and Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas was in fine form.
Neymar thought he had a penalty with 13 minutes remaining when the referee awarded a spot-kick, then changed his decision after a video assistant referee (VAR) review and adjudging he dived.
Gabriel Jesus’s header crashed against the crossbar and after some excellent work by Paulinho, Coutinho’s follow-up hit the ever-present Gamboa on the line.
Neymar fired over from Paulinho’s cutback and Coutinho shot straight at Keylor Navas after, again, Paulinho had teed it up.
Frustration mounted for Brazil but Costa Rica’s resistance was finally ended in the 91st minute.
Marcelo’s deep cross was kept alive by Roberto Firmino and a loose touch by Jesus dribbled perfectly into Coutinho’s path. Six yards out, he sidefooted home.
Costa Rica conceded again right at the death. Substitute Douglas Costa squared for Neymar to finally find the net.
The result takes Tite’s side to the top of Group E with four points, while Costa Rica have none and therefore exit the competition. Serbia, who have three points, play Switzerland, who drew with Brazil in their opener, later on Friday.