FOLLOW all the action from ReportersAtLarge as Brazil take on Costa Rica at the 2018 World Cup on Friday 22 June 2018.
Brazil leave it very late but class wins out at the end after they were frustrated for 90 minutes and their anger was in danger of distracting them.
Turning in Douglas Costa’s square pass on the halfvolley with his left after terrific set-up play from Coutinho.
GOAL!! Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica
Neymar is off the mark at the death.
The goal has made the ball round again for Brazil and they begin to chassé their way through the box with subtle touches and deft passes. Neymar links up with Firmino who blasts his shot wide. Fernandino comes on for Gabriel Jesus
The first of six minutes of added time. Firmino heads Marcelo’s deep left-wing cross back across goal to Jesus who takes a touch, by no means a good one, and he turns to try and reach it and shoot. Coutinho, though, in like a train is better-placed, screams at him to leave it and fires his shot from about 8m through Navas’s legs.
GOAL! Brazil 1-0 Costa Rica – Coutinho!
The cross is sent into the box and Navas is fouled by Firmino as they go up for it.
Neymar, fouled again, has great gaping holes in his socks to show where he’s been hacked at. Marcelo, coming in to get the ball to take the free-kick quickly, hands off a Costa Rica player who throws himself to the grass and flip-flops like a stranded gurnard.
Gabriel Jesus, waiting for the ball to drop in the box and get a shot away, is tackled by Neymar who has been infected by messiah syndrome and believes only he can deliver.
Neymar tries to nutmeg Duarte with a sharply-taken shot but it hits the ankle of the defender and goes out for a corner that Neymar takes. Easily defended and in the breakdown, as Costa Rica usher it clear, Neymar again goes sprawling under Duarte’s challenge but the referee deems it fair, much to Neymar’s ire.
Neymar trips Venegas by the touchline and the break for the free-kick allows Costa Rica to send in Calvo for Celtic’s Gamboa.
A miss from Neymar. Duarte fires his clearance straight at him 30m out and he accelerates from first to sixth gear in one shimmy and burst. As he approaches the box he decides to go early and bends a right-foot thunderbolt about 50cm wide and the same distance over.
A pair of Brazil corners, so much wrestling at the first but the referee doesn’t intervene. Casemiro meets the second one with a half-powered glancing header that trickles through to Navas. A striker on his toes should have nipped in there to divert it past the keeper.
Neymar drives a low left foot shot from the left angle of the box at Navas. A routine save, unlike …
Bolanos, who led a break and then misplaced a pass, takes the resulting corner. Neymar is given a final warning for yapping just before it’s taken and the referee even makes a mouth puppet of his hand to make the point. The corner is headed up vertically by a Brazil defender and Ruiz attempts a flying scissor kick volley 90 degrees from the Earth, but he can’t connect properly and Brazil bundle it away.
Now Paulinho sets up Coutinho to shoot from the edge of the box but it skips off the turf just as he was about to hit it which made it difficult to control. He prods the bobbling ball more than genuinely striking it and toe-pokes it low and down the keeper’s throat as he dived forward to gather.
What a save by Navas. Neymar, slipping behind Acosta on the right, takes Paulinho’s cute pass and flays a shot towards goal, and the Real Madrid keeper soars to his left to claw it behind.
Bolanos replaces Urena for Costa Rica who spent 20 seconds in Brazil’s half for relief before Brazil ran them down and set forth on another attack. They have been demonstrably fired up at half-time.
Much better from Brazil – Gabriel Jesus rattles the crossbar with a header from Douglas Costa’s shot and Paulinho has to wait fore it to drop, allowing Gonzalez to steal some of his room. Eventually he sends it back away from goal and Coutinho threads a shot through a forest of legs and Navas scrambles the ball behind for a corner.
A chaotic penalty box interlude. Paulinho chases down Oviedo’s weak back pass to Navas and the keeper has to stand up to the pressure and belt it clear. He mishits it out to the left and Gabriel Jesus crosses it to the back post where Neymar goes up with the keeper and jumps into him. Free-kick.
Douglas Costa is standing on the whitewash on the right and Neymar hugs it on the left, trying to open up the field.
Douglas Costa has replaced Willian on the right of Brazil’s attack. Makes sense. Willian’s touch and timing had been horrendous.
The Half-Time: Brazil 0-0 Costa Rica
Paulinho in miles of space down the right, fires in an early cross that Neymar, not anticipating it coming so soon, just couldn’t reach. Brazil recycle on the left and Guzman saves the day with a vital tackle on Willian. They try a different tack, going over the top with a right-to-left diagonal but Neymar goes too soon and is flagged offside.
Marcelo, who should have been booked for a cynical shirt pull to stop a counter a minute ago, cuts in off the left and shoots with his swinger, sending a Barnes-Wallis of a pogoing shot safely into the arms of his Real Madrid chum Navas.
Brazil corner on the right, won by Gamboa’s interception. Paulinho goes down in the box when the cross comes in but his penalty appeals are ignored even though he was manhandled across the throat by Duarte. Costa Rica break quickly up the right and outnumber Brazil … until Urena fails to read the pass, goes early and is caught offside.
Costa Rica are showing no vissble strain from the recent siege of the their goal but they are betraying the pressure they’re under with a series of fouls. They almost break up the right with Borges and Venegas but the latter overhits his release pass for Urena and Alisson sweeps up.
Willian failed to stun a heavy pass, fumbling it into touch, provoking a wince from every Brazilian present and an orgy of praise from Clive Tyldesley to Glenn Hoddle – ‘You would have won 100 caps if you’d been Brazilian’. Messrs Junior, Falcao, Zico and Socrates beg to differ.
Great defending from Oviedo and Acosta when Neymar raced up the byline and stood up a cross into the six-yard box. They refused to yield an inch to Willian and Gabriel Jesus and squeezed them out of space.
A pair of shots from outside the box, left of centre. The first from Marcelo is thrashed across goal and wide of the far post. Half a minute later Coutinho cuts back on to his right as he speeds towards the area and goes for the right-foot curler that sneaks in at the far post, a goal he has scored a dozen times. But though he sends it out wide of the post, this time it doesn’t veer in or dip in time.
Terrific pass from Coutinho from the centre over Duarte on the right of he Costa Rica defence. Neymar gives chase and gets there a fraction of a second before Navas but can only stab his shot at the goalkeeper as he tried to go over him. Navas’s speed off his line and bravery saved his side there.
Coutinho is caught by Borges but unseen by the referee. Brazil break from midfield, Neymar flying up the right and cuts it back to Marcelo who shoots, hits Gabriel Jesus in a position in which he’s 2m offside. The striker traps it and buries a shot past Navas but up goes the flag. Offside.
Neymar shoos everyone away and takes the free-kick himself, driving it low and flat diagonally from the right aimed for Thiago Silva peeling off round the back. He does connect with the header but bludgeons it wide.
Hardly seen anything of Gabriel Jesus and Paulinho. And Costa Rica look electric down the right. Here’s Jesus now going up against Duarte 30m from goal and Duarte catches his knee.
Neymar scoops the ball over his head by the touchline and turns Venegas, sprints on and goes down when Venegas shoves him over to thwart further progress. Neymar takes the free-kick, like he did a minute ago, and Costa Rica defend the cross into the box very comfortably. A combination of good positioning, strength and poor delivery. Coutinho covers his mouth to complain to the referee – presumably that Venegas wasn’t booked for his persistent fouling.
Neymar looks very rusty and trots from side to side, looking for a suitable berth from which he can influence the play. He is fouled on the left – doesn’t look much but the cumulative effect of Switzerland’s treatment and the couple of niggly ones here will effect him as he toils for match fitness after recovering from that broken foot.