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Philippe Coutinho and Neymar bailed Brazil out with stoppage-time strikes against Costa Rica following another uninspiring display at the 2018 World Cup.

Coach Tite’s team were heading for a second inglorious draw when Barcelona midfielder Coutinho popped up to poke home from Roberto Firmino’s nod down.

And with seconds remaining Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, tapped in Douglas Costa’s cross to secure Brazil’s first win of the tournament.

Their hopes of victory looked to have been dashed when they had a penalty decision overturned by VAR in the 78th minute after referee Bjorn Kuipers had initially ruled Neymar had been brought down in the area.

As it stands Brazil currently lead Group E and could go through with a draw in their final pool match against Serbia.

Is this Brazil 1994 in disguise?

Gabriel Jesus (centre)

How this Brazil side could do with just a sprinkling of the brio of the teams of 1970 and 1982.

In the two games they have played so far the class of 2018 have been pedestrian for long periods – reminiscent of Carlos Alberto Parreira’s heavily-criticised champions from 1994.

Even that side scored more goals in their opening two games than Tite’s outfit, who too often are cautious in their approach play and whose illustrious attack have yet to replicate their club form.

Brazil were listless in the opening 45 minutes.

After being fouled 10 times in the opening game against Switzerland, Neymar, perhaps unfairly criticised after that match for not being a team player, was once again targeted by defenders and spent more yet time with his face in the turf.

Barcelona’s Coutinho, who scored with a brilliant strike in the opening game, failed to find his range and Chelsea’s Willian, taken off at half-time, was awful on the right.

The tempo increased, as did the chances for Brazil, after the break, although prior to the goals Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas was only tested by Neymar’s snapshot, while Jesus’ header came off the woodwork.

With 15 minutes remaining it was desperation time for the five-time winners, with Tite and the vast number of Brazilians inside the Saint Petersburg stadium hoping for a miracle.

Neymar tears after late goal

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Those prayers appeared to be answered with 12 minutes remaining, as official Kuipers pointed to the spot after he judged Giancarlo Gonzalez had pulled down Neymar.

However, after watching the replay the experienced Dutchman overturned the decision – and Brazilian shoulders slumped.

Then came the miracle, with the fourth official signalling six minutes of stoppage time.

With one minute of it played, Coutinho broke the deadlock when he fired in after substitute Firmino and Jesus had combined.

And in the dying seconds, Neymar, only recently recovered from a broken foot, tucked home Juventus midfielder Costa’s square ball.

Brazil’s talisman wept after the final whistle – the win relief both for him and for his nation.

Costa Rica bid farewell after valiant effort

It was a commendable defensive display by Costa Rica, who had hoped to punish Brazil on the counter-attack.

However, their only opportunity came in early in the first half when Celso Borges fired wide after a good run and cross from Celtic’s Cristian Gamboa.

There will be no repeat of 2014, when Los Ticos reached the last eight.

Man of the match – Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)

Philippe Coutinho

Lucky 13 for Brazil – the stats

  • This was Brazil’s first World Cup victory thanks to a goal scored in the 90th minute.
  • Brazil have won 10 of their 11 meetings with Costa Rica in all competitions, the one loss coming in a friendly in 1960.
  • Costa Rica are winless in their last five World Cup matches (D3 L2).
  • Costa Rica had just three shots in this match, with all of those coming in the opening 15 minutes.
  • Brazil’s second goal was timed at 96:49 – the latest recorded stoppage time goal in a World Cup match since 1966.
  • Brazil are unbeaten in 13 games (W9 D4 L0), conceding just three goals in that run.
  • Brazil’s Neymar has been fouled 14 times so far in the 2018 World Cup, more than any other player.
  • Neymar has been involved in 18 goals in his last 17 appearances for Brazil (10 goals, eight assists).
  • Coutinho has been directly involved in four goals in his last four games for Brazil (three goals, one assist), as many as in his previous 14 combined for the national side.

What’s next?

Brazil face Serbia in their final game next Wednesday (19:00 BST) in Moscow, and Costa Rica end their campaign against Switzerland (19:00 BST) in Nizhny Novgorod on the same day.

Line-ups

Brazil

  • 1Alisson
  • 22Fagner
  • 2Thiago Silva
  • 3Miranda
  • 12Marcelo
  • 15PaulinhoSubstituted forRoberto Firminoat 68′minutes
  • 5Casemiro
  • 11CoutinhoBooked at 81mins
  • 19WillianSubstituted forDouglas Costaat 45′minutes
  • 9Gabriel JesusSubstituted forFernandinhoat 90+3′minutes
  • 10NeymarBooked at 81mins

Substitutes

  • 4Geromel
  • 6Filipe Luís
  • 7Douglas Costa
  • 8Renato Augusto
  • 13Marquinhos
  • 16Cássio
  • 17Fernandinho
  • 18Fred
  • 20Roberto Firmino
  • 21Barcellos Freda
  • 23Ederson

Costa Rica

  • 1Navas
  • 2AcostaBooked at 84mins
  • 3González
  • 6Duarte
  • 16GamboaSubstituted forCalvoat 75′minutes
  • 5Borges
  • 20GuzmánSubstituted forTejedaat 83′minutes
  • 8Oviedo
  • 11Venegas
  • 10Ruiz
  • 21UreñaSubstituted forBolañosat 54′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Smith
  • 7Bolaños
  • 9Colindres
  • 12Campbell
  • 13Wallace
  • 14Azofeifa
  • 15Calvo
  • 17Tejeda
  • 18Pemberton
  • 19Waston
  • 22Gutiérrez
  • 23Moreira
Referee:
Björn Kuipers
Attendance:
64,468

Match Stats

Home TeamBrazilAway TeamCosta Rica
Possession
Home72%
Away28%
Shots
Home22
Away3
Shots on Target
Home10
Away0
Corners
Home9
Away1
Fouls
Home11
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Brazil 2, Costa Rica 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Brazil 2, Costa Rica 0.

Goal!

Goal! Brazil 2, Costa Rica 0. Neymar (Brazil) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Douglas Costa.

Corner, Brazil. Conceded by Bryan Oviedo.

Attempt missed. Roberto Firmino (Brazil) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Coutinho.

Substitution

Substitution, Brazil. Fernandinho replaces Gabriel Jesus.

Goal!

Goal! Brazil 1, Costa Rica 0. Coutinho (Brazil) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gabriel Jesus.

Miranda (Brazil) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Johan Venegas (Costa Rica).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Óscar Duarte (Costa Rica) because of an injury.

Neymar (Brazil) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Óscar Duarte (Costa Rica).

Attempt saved. Casemiro (Brazil) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Douglas Costa.

Attempt saved. Coutinho (Brazil) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marcelo.

Booking

Johnny Acosta (Costa Rica) is shown the yellow card.

Substitution

Substitution, Costa Rica. Yeltsin Tejeda replaces David Guzmán.

Booking

Coutinho (Brazil) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Neymar (Brazil) is shown the yellow card.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Video Review: Penalty Kick. Referee decision on field cancelled.

Delay in match (Brazil). Video Review.

Corner, Brazil. Conceded by Johnny Acosta.

Attempt blocked. Neymar (Brazil) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Douglas Costa.

Substitution

Substitution, Costa Rica. Francisco Calvo replaces Cristian Gamboa.

Foul by Neymar (Brazil).

Johan Venegas (Costa Rica) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match David Guzmán (Costa Rica) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Neymar (Brazil) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Casemiro (Brazil) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Neymar with a cross.

Corner, Brazil. Conceded by Óscar Duarte.

Attempt missed. Thiago Silva (Brazil) with an attempt from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Neymar with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Brazil. Conceded by Bryan Oviedo.

Substitution

Substitution, Brazil. Roberto Firmino replaces Paulinho.

Offside, Costa Rica. Christian Bolaños tries a through ball, but Johan Venegas is caught offside.

Dangerous play by Paulinho (Brazil).

Óscar Duarte (Costa Rica) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Neymar (Brazil) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Coutinho.

Foul by Miranda (Brazil).

goal