Thiago Silva reassures Neymar after tearful Brazil win

Lula Sharp
June 23, 2018

The world's most expensive player had been an injury doubt after hobbling out of training on Tuesday with an ankle problem, 48 hours after he was on the end of 10 fouls from robust Swiss opponents as Brazil opened their campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw.

Beside Uruguay, no other South American team had won a match until Brazil did so on Friday.

The game was all-square going into stoppage time, but Brazil scored twice in stoppage time to break Costa Rican hearts.

For long periods Costa Rica's flat-back five kept Neymar on the periphery, with Johan Venegas and Cristian Gamboa both man-marking him out of the game as Brazil found it hard to carve out chances in the first half.

Brazil: Alisson; Fagner, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo; Paulinho, Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho; Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar. Costa Rica has zero points and can not advance. He was out three and a half months and he played the full match.

In the 50th minute Coutinho blasted one wide of the target before Jesus hit the crossbar with a header soon after from a cross from the left.

It had appeared as if Brazil, after a 1-1 with Switzerland in its opening game, was heading for another stalemate. But he was also in theatrical mode against Costa Rica, tumbling over dramatically when touched.

"We never tried to hurt him", Ramirez said. "We tried to play fairly but stop him fairly as well".

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And they only just managed that.

Soccer fans in Germany will also be holding their breath when the defending World Cup champions return to action on Saturday against Sweden as -240 favourites.

"He is resuming a process", Tite said. "Brazil doesn't need any help".

Neymar added the second with practically the last kick of the match, volleying home Jesus's square ball following a quick counter-attack as Costa Rica pushed for an equalizer.

With Neymar still short of his best following the foot injury, Brazil once again turned to Coutinho for inspiration.

Although left back Marcelo had an average game in defence, his constant runs down the flanks ultimately helped when his unsafe cross led to the opening goal.

RT special guest host said Dutch referee Kuipers should be given the World Cup final gig after the courageous decision to reverse the penalty.

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