Soccer NewsFriday 22nd June 2018

Brazil player ratings vs Costa Rica: Willian flops, Coutinho key in crucial late win

Brazil player ratings vs Costa Rica: Willian flops, Coutinho key in crucial late win

Brazil secured a crucial win over Costa Rica in their second World Cup outing on Friday, with Philippe Coutinho and Neymar getting on the scoresheet.

Tite’s men were left frustrated last time out after being held by Switzerland in their opener, and it looked as though they were set for a similar story against a resilient and compact Costa Rica side.

SEE MORE: Video: Neymar ruins Costa Rica defender with outrageous piece of skill for Brazil

While they were also wasteful, their opponents deserve plenty of credit for nullifying their threat for the most part and keeping them out, but they were eventually undone in injury time through goals from Coutinho and Neymar.

It could prove to be a crucial turning point for Brazil, as it felt like a big moment in their World Cup campaign in terms of building belief and boosting morale to edge closer to making the knockout stage.

Neymar

Time will tell if that proves to be the case, but they will need key individuals to continue to improve as the tournament progresses. Brazil looked as though they were finally starting to click into gear at times, and there is an argument to be made that they are working their way into peak form in Russia.

The defence stood solid despite some dangerous Costa Rican counter-attacks, with Alisson enjoying a quiet afternoon while Thiago Silva and Miranda put in no-nonsense displays.

Defensively, Brazil were able to limit being put in uncomfortable situations, but in attack, they need to improve.

Willian was largely ineffective and was in turn hooked at half-time as he regularly failed to beat his man and was all too predictable.

However, neither Neymar nor Gabriel Jesus fared much better, albeit they were key in closing out the game with a win.

Perhaps the pick of the bunch though was Philippe Coutinho, as aside from timing his run into the box perfectly to pounce on the chance to break the deadlock for his second goal of the tournament, he was always keen to pick up the ball in deep positions and drive forward in possession to look for an opening.

Especially against a side prepared to sit in and make life difficult for Brazil, Coutinho’s role was crucial.

Douglas Costa’s pace and direct running also made a big difference off the bench, while Roberto Firmino did his hopes of displacing Jesus in the starting line-up no harm after his knock down led to the first goal.

Tite will be delighted to get three more points on the board, but Brazil will know that they must still do so much better as the level of opposition will continue to improve.

Brazil player ratings: Alisson 6; Fagner 6, Silva 7, Miranda 7, Marcelo 6; Casemiro 6, Paulinho 6, Coutinho 7; Willian 4, Gabriel Jesus 5, Neymar 5.

Substitutes: Douglas Costa 7, Firmino 6, Fernandinho N/A.

Comment