An unusual Brazil appeared on the right track for a second successive draw, which might have made for an particularly nervy closing group match in opposition to Serbia on June 27, however within the 91st minute Coutinho stabbed house in opposition to tiring opponents and Neymar added gloss to the scoreline within the 97th minute.
It was stirring finale and a victory which places Brazil prime of Group E with 4 factors, although the South Individuals could also be usurped by Serbia who play Switzerland afterward Friday. A draw in opposition to Serbia could possibly be sufficient to place Brazil by to the final 16.
The magnitude of the consequence was evident in Tite’s celebrations — the Brazil coach jolted out of the dugout and slid on his knees when Coutinho put his staff forward — whereas after the ultimate whistle Neymar could possibly be seen on his knees sobbing.
Neymar’s first aim of the match, scored seconds earlier than the ultimate whistle, strikes the Paris Saint-Germain star above Romario into third on Brazil’s all-time scoring checklist with 56 targets in 87 internationals. Solely Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77) are above him within the exalted file books.
Neymar match to start out
After a lot conjecture over Neymar’s health — the world’s most costly participant hobbled out of a coaching session on Tuesday — the Brazilian began the match, although it took a while for him to shine.
Fouled 10 occasions within the opening 1-1 draw in opposition to Switzerland, probably the most fouls on a participant at a World Cup match for 20 years, he needed to endure a lot the identical within the St. Petersburg stadium.
Nonetheless, transferring to the left helped the playmaker, and his teammates, and after 30 minutes the Brazilians flicked a swap and improved after a static opening, although Costa Rica’s gamers proved to be stubborn opponents.
Within the first half, Coutinho’s elegant ball excessive of Costa Rica’s protection set Neymar free, however the 26-year-old’s poor first contact meant he was unable to check Keylor Navas in Costa Rica’s aim.
Neymar’s rustiness was maybe comprehensible provided that his first aggressive outing since breaking a bone in his proper foot in February was in opposition to Switzerland.
Regardless of Brazil’s dominance in possession, Costa Rica twice threatened their extra celebrated opponents.
Celso Borges ought to have performed higher than to pull his shot extensive after being put by by a Cristian Gamboa cut-back, whereas persistence from Marcos Urena simply earlier than the break would have saved him onside and thru on aim.
After the break, Navas was instantly known as into motion. Gabriel Jesus’ header hit the crossbar and Coutinho went shut with the follow-up shot, whereas a superb point-blank save from the Actual Madrid goalkeeper prevented Neymar from breaking the impasse.
By means of on aim with simply the goalkeeper to beat, Neymar had one other probability to place his staff forward, however the former Barcelona ahead curled his effort extensive from 20 yards.
Costa Rica had been holding agency and even survived a penalty scare within the 78th minute.
Refree Bjorn Kuipers initially awarded a spotkick for a Giancarlo Gonzalez foul on Neymar, however after watching replays of the incident he accurately deemed that Gonzalez’s contact of the Brazilian’s shirt wouldn’t have been sufficient for Neymar to tumble over.
Ultimately, it mattered little as Coutinho got here to the rescue, directing Firmino’s header throughout aim past Navas from 4 yards, whereas Neymar tapped in Douglas Costa’s cross to place the previous champions on firmer footing in direction of the final 16.