Brazil beat Costa Rica 2-0, edge towards World Cup last 16


Brazil defender Danilo has been ruled out of Friday's Group E game with Costa Rica with a thigh problem and will be replaced by Corinthians right-back Fagner, the Brazilian Football Confederation said on Thursday.

Dramatic late strikes by Philippe Coutinho and Neymar gave Brazil their first win of the World Cup against Costa Rica in St Petersburg on Friday (Jun 22). The first goal was all that Brazil needed to switch to attack mode.

But one of the biggest talking points will no doubt be the VAR decision when Neymar had a penalty call overturned by the review system in the 77th minute as he was rightfully adjudged to have dived for the call.

In only the second win for an African side in Russian Federation so far, Nigeria broke the deadlock in the 49th minute when Victor Moses, playing as a wing-back, lofted a pass towards Musa who deftly controlled the ball and smashed in the half volley.

In the end, Brazil found the net with Philippe Coutinho prodding home a late victor through the legs of Keylor Navas.

Philippe Coutinho - the game's outstanding player - pounced on hold-up play from Jesus to break the deadlock in the 91st minute, with Neymar making sure of the points from Douglas Costa's cross.

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With this victory, Brazil will progress to Round of 16, while Costa Rica goes back home.

With the game still scoreless 13 minutes from time, Neymar collapsed under a soft challenge in the box and thought he had won a penalty for his misfiring side.

Frustration brewed but Costa Rica´s resistance was finally ended in stoppage-time as Marcelo´s deep cross was kept alive by Roberto Firmino and a loose touch by Jesus dribbled perfectly into Coutinho´s path.

Neymar might be fit but Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez admitted the world's most expensive player will be closely tracked, saying: "Maybe we will mark him with two men, we will see".

Costa Rica, meanwhile, are out but the Central Americans were far from disgraced here. Needing time to recover, Neymar saw limited action in friendlies ahead of the World Cup.

Brazil coach Tite warned his country not to heap too much responsibility on Neymar's slight shoulders after the forward was often involved in discussions with the referee, frequently gesticulating and falling down when tackled.