Neymar to start Brazil v Costa Rica, coach Tite confirms

Dean Simpson
June 21, 2018

While Brazil were held in their opener, Serbia edged Costa Rica 1-0 thanks to Alexander Kolarov's sensational free-kick, setting up a vital game for Tite's side.

Brazil, Germany and Argentina have lifted 11 World Cups between them, but all failed to win their opening games in Russian Federation, prompting questions about whether this was a temporary blip or indicative of a major shift in the balance of power.

Brazil's Neymar was fouled 10 times in their opening match against Switzerland - it was the most a player has been fouled in a World Cup match since 1998, when England striker Alan Shearer was fouled 11 times against Tunisia. The game was a tough one for the World Cup favorites.

Mexico though only lost one game in qualifying and have always qualified for at least the second round of every World Cup they have played.

"There was a lot of pressure and it was translated into too much speed in our last move and that means you are not precise", he said in his post-game press conference.

Brazil coach Tite said before the tournament started that Neymar wouldn't likely be fully fit until the third match of the group stage because of the foot injury that sidelined him for about three months earlier this year.

"We haven't spoken about [it being a must-win game]", Coutinho told reporters after training.

Brazil were due to fly to Saint Petersburg on Wednesday evening ahead of Friday's game against Costa Rica there.

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic highlighted the personality his side had shown in coming back from behind to earn a draw against one of the favourites for the title.

"I am proud of their determination", Petkovic said of his team.

"We need to win the ball back quickly and counter-attack quickly".

The Paris Saint-Germain star recently recovered a broken foot but impressed in Brazil's warm-up matches and started their 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Sunday.

Brazil has no margin for error against Costa Rica, which won its group at the last World Cup and reached the quarterfinals.

Check out the brand new daily JOE World Cup Minipod hosted by Dion Fanning and Paddy McKenna featuring Roy Keane rage, goal machine Ronaldo and why Sepp Blatter really loves Ireland.

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