21st of June 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
World Cup favourites Brazil are hoping to bounce back from the draw they have recorded in their opening match when they face Costa Rica at Saint-Petersburg Stadium on Friday in Group E. The two nations have met several times before, starting with a 1-0 victory for Brazil at the 1990 World Cup. Brazil have won six of the seven direct matches, including two at the World Cup and another two at the Copa America. Costa Rica defeated Brazil 3-1 in 2011 at the Pan American Games but the Brazilians did not have their best team there.
Brazil didn't have the start they were hoping for at the 2018 World Cup, they were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland even though Philippe Coutinho had put them ahead after just 20 minutes. The performance of the Brazilian team was rather disappointing but they can still recover from that. However, they might have to play without Neymar and Fred against Costa Rica as both have health issues. Neymar picked up an ankle injury in training and if he won't be able to play then probably Coutinho will be pushed in a more advanced role by head coach Tite.
Costa Rica looked fairly solid in their opening match but they were punished by a stunning free kick strike from Kolarov, which gave Serbia an overall deserved 1-0 victory. Now Costa Rica have to avoid defeat against Brazil if they want to stay in the race for qualification, and that might be doable if we consider that the last two victories for Brazil against Costa Rica were narrow 1-0 wins. Head coach Oscar Ramirez doesn't have any injury concerns ahead of this match but he might choose to give Christian Bolanos a starting berth after a good performance as a substitute against Serbia.
Brazil: Alisson - Danilo, T. Silva, Miranda, Marcelo - Paulinho, Casemiro, Coutinho - Willian, Jesus, Neymar
Costa Rica: Navas - Acosta, Gonzalez, Duarte - Gamboa, Borges, Guzman, Calvo - Ruiz, Bolanos - Urena
My prediction: Brazil to win 1-0, Costa Rica will make it difficult for them but Brazil should be able to pull through.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Brazil win - 1.22
Draw - 6.50
Costa Rica win - 19.00
13th of July 2018
Definitely the Brazilians were the better team in this one but this is not much of a compliment when we've seen that Costa Rica were really one of the tootles sides at the World Cup in general and the South Americans couldn't assure their win before the closing minutes of the regular time, so in the end not too convincing performance by Brazil despite the win.
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