The third game in Group E was played between Central American country, Costa Rica and South American country, Brazil in Saint Petersburg. Following the Brazilians draw against Switzerland in the opening game, they needed to win against Costa Rica to go to the top of their group, however they needed a better performance compared to the last game as the Brazilians struggled to dominate the Swiss last time out.
In the first half of this match, both sides struggled to create openings. Before the game was fifteen minutes in, Brazil defender Casemiro had to be treated after having a nose bleed, following a clash in the first few minutes with a Costa Rican player. However the knock wasn’t so serious as all the Brazilian player needed was his nose to be cleaned up by the medical team before he came back onto the pitch, shortly afterwards.
Clean up operation: Casemiro gets attention following a bizarre nose bleed and a member of the medical team, applies a tissue to stop the flow of blood from his name.
The first half ended goalless and following this the Brazil coach, Tite decided to take Willian off and replace him with Douglas Costa as the Chelsea midfielder was struggling on the right throughout the entirety of the first half, so the Brazilians needed more creativity to find a way of winning the second half against their stubborn opponents, who would exit the World Cup if they lost the match and were trying everything to make sure that the scoreline stayed nil nil, which was now frustrating the Brazilians as they had been the better side in the second half. The situation almost changed later on in the half as Brazil were awarded a penalty for a foul on their charismatic striker, Neymar. However the penalty was overturned on VAR review as evidence showed that the Brazil forward had dived as there was no contact at all, as the Brazilian striker tumbled down in the penalty in three stages. The decision not to award the penalty enraged the Brazilian’s as they all thought it was a penalty in their eyes, whilst this was happening the Costa Ricans were appealing for Neymar to be booked for simulation, only the referee ignored the protests, as both sides were still keep each other at bay.
Neymar tumbles under no contact whatsoever from Costa Ricas’, Giancarlo González (wearing number 3) as VAR, overturned a penalty for the first time in this years World Cup.
As the game went on, it didn’t look like there was going to be a break through whatsoever in this match. When the clock was ticking down towards the end of the game, the Brazilians were playing with a lot more confidence unlike the first half and it was beginning to become clear to see. As the board went up for stoppage time, Brazil went up to Costa Rica’s end of the pitch and crossed the ball into the box, where Gabriel Jesus touched the ball down for Coutinho who followed in by slotting the ball under the legs of the diving Costa Rica goalkeeper, Keylor Navas. Surely Coutinho’s goal would be the winning one in this game.
Jumping for joy: Coutinho celebrates giving Brazil the lead in the first minute of stoppage time, which knocked Costa Rica out of Russia 2018.
It wasn’t as with the last kick of the game, Neymar scored a tap in on the volley, following a cross from Douglas Costa as Brazil pushed to eliminate their opponents from the Group Stage. The relief on Neymar’s face was clear to see as at the final whistle, he sat in the centre circle and was crying tears of joy as he couldn’t hide his happiness after Brazil finally won their first game at the 2018 World Cup.
Neymar points to the fans after scoring the winning goal late on during the seventh minute of stoppage time, which means Brazil have to win the next group to qualify for the round of 16.
Brazil face Serbia in their final game next Wednesday at 7 o’clock in Moscow, whilst Costa Rica end their campaign against Switzerland, also at 7 o’clock in Nizhny Novgorod, the same day.