Brazil v Costa Rica
Live on ITV, Kick-off 1:00pm
BRAZILIAN TV celebrated the World Cup demise of their great rivals Argentina by looping shots of grieving fans in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium to the soundtrack of Evita's “Don't Cry for me Argentina” but ahead of their clash with Costa Rica on Friday the 5-time World champions are in no position to gloat. Yet.
Like their South American neighbours, Brazil also flattered to deceive in their opening match, mis-firing their way to a 1-1 draw with Switzerland. It means that a win is a must if Brazil's fate is to remain entirely in their own hands.
Despite only claiming a point against the Swiss, Brazil played reasonably well, to a point. They rained in 21 shots but they just didn't make the goalkeeper work hard enough. It's likely to be one-way traffic again versus Costa Rica but will the Samba Boys find their scoring boots?
The Costa Ricans have restricted Brazil to 1-0 wins in their two most recent meetings in 2011 and 2015, but the sides have met in three International tournaments since 1997 and the boys from Brazil have a significant edge, with three wins and an aggregate score of 14-3.
They're a much better organised side nowadays and gave as good as they got in defeat to Serbia but they did show signs of defensive uncertainty which could be exploited by Neymar and co.
Brazil are unbackable at 2/9 and ordinarily I'd be taking them to win this three or four nil, but there's a conservative ntaure to the tournament so far and I'd rather err on the side of a lower score.
Coutinho scored on matchday one, and I expect Jesus or Neymar to get on the scoresheet in this one, that makes it likely that Coutinho could turn provider and looks too big at 5/2 to claim an assist.
- Players Assist – Phillipe Coutinho 5/2 Bet365
- Brazil 2 Costa Rica 0 9/2 Bet365
- Neymar 13/5 Bet365