Brazil vs Costa Rica
Competition: 2018 World Cup finals
Date: 22 June 2018
Kick-off: 14:00 CET
Heading into this game, Brazil’s coach Tite had to keep the members of his medical staff close, getting updated on Neymar’s situation. He missed at least one training session (limping out after the first 10-15 minutes, obviously in pain, on his right foot), and the overall feeling was that even if he manages to play, he won’t be at his 100%, same way he wasn’t against Switzerland in Brazil’s opener in the World Cup finals. Neymar received several fouls, but if he wants to blame someone for that, he may well just look at a mirror. Almost every time he touched the ball, instead of passing it as quickly as possible to an available teammate, he would hold on to it, sometimes trying totally pointless tricks, as if Brazil were 3-0 up and he wanted to entertain the crowd. Brazil were poor, ended up dropping two points, despite taking the lead thanks to a fantastic Coutinho shot. Truth is, there was a push on Miranda by Switzerland’s scorer, many were left baffled regarding the non use of VAR, but all in all, Brazil looked poor, inexplicably poor…
Costa Rica are another team that didn’t meet expectations in their first group game, losing to Serbia 1-0. The difference between them and Brazil is that the South Americans sort of… betrayed their own self, let themselves down, practically… pulling the brake after scoring their goal. Costa Rica didn’t lack… motivation and hunger throughout the 90 minutes, but it felt as if, very simply, they had a better team opposite them, and no matter what they tried, their opponents had an answer. If it weren’t for Keylor Navas, their goalkeeper, Serbia would have scored earlier. When Aleksandar Kolarov took a free-kick in the 56th minute, not even Navas could do anything to deny him. Having lost their first game, and facing the group’s strongest team, Costa Rica are left with their back against the wall.
Previous five matches:
Brazil vs Switzerland 1-1
Austria vs Brazil 0-3
Brazil vs Croatia 2-0
Germany vs Brazil 0-1
Russia vs Brazil 0-3
Costa Rica vs Serbia 0-1
Belgium vs Costa Rica 4-1
England vs Costa Rica 2-0
Costa Rica vs Northern Ireland 3-0
Tunisia vs Costa Rica 1-0
Brazil’s last group match is against Serbia, on Wednesday. Same day, Costa Rica will be facing Switzerland.
Brazil vs Costa Rica: Head to head Stats
Brazil and Costa Rica have met nine times in the past, with the Brazilians winning nine of those matches. Costa Rica managed one victory, in a friendly game, in 1960(!). Total goals, 32-9.
Brazil vs Costa Rica: Prediction
Brazil can only look better, much better, than against Switzerland, and regardless of having Neymar in their lineup or not, they should win.
Brazil vs Costa Rica: Betting Tips
A simple Brazil win pays just 1.22. Combined with “over 2.5 goals”, it goes up to 1.83. Bookmakers consider Gabriel Jesus and Neymar the most likely scorers (1.72), but I would bet on Coutinho to score anytime, at 2.05.