We are at Day 9 of the World Cup 2018 and today’s first game is going to be a thriller as Brazil face Costa Rica in the second round of the group stages.
Riding in on a wave of expectation, 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.
Whenever and whoever Brazil play the country expects nothing more than a victory. Anything but a comfortable success and it will be a national footballing disaster. Costa Rica’s previous World Cup exploits sent them to Russia under more pressure than ever before. But realism dictates the fans will be delighted with a point.
Following an opening against Switzerland, Brazil’s spark fizzled as the clash progressed, before ultimately being pegged back by the resilient 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. Take a look at Brazil’s previous encounter, click here.
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.
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.
Take a look at Costa Rica’s previous encounter, click here.
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 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.
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.
Brazil: Alisson; Danilo, 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.
COSTA RICA: 6%
WHERE TO WATCH:
Catch live action on Sony LIV (https://www.sonyliv.com/ ) at 5.30 p.m. (IST)