Brazil vs Costa Rica Preview


How will Brazil respond after their poor start to their campaign? (Image from SIT News)

After disappointing starts to their World Cup campaign, both Brazil and Costa Rica will be looking to bounce back when they face each other in St Petersburg on Friday. Brazil are the favourites to win this match and their group, but when they drew 1-1 against Switzerland, for large parts of the game, they lacked creativity and couldn’t find the end product. Costa Rica’s loss to Serbia, thanks to a stunning free-kick from Aleksander Kolarov, leaves them with an uphill struggle to qualify for the knockout stages. These two teams have come head to head 10 times before, with Los Ticos only coming up trumps once.

Brazil’s possible line-up


Goalkeeper: Alisson

Takes some of the blame for not coming out to catch Shaqiri’s cross which led to Switzerland’s goal but should still keep his place
Defenders: Danilo (RB), Thiago Silva (CB), Marquinhos (CB), Marcelo(LB)

Same defence as against Switzerland but Marquinhos might get his chance to impress, after Miranda didn’t have a particularly strong game against the Swiss.

Midfielders: Paulinho(RCM), Casemiro(CDM), Coutinho(LCM)

Again, the same setup is expected in midfield. Paulinho didn’t particularly impress against Switzerland, so Renato Augusto could come in for him, but Tite will most likely stick with the same players.

Strikers: Willian (RW), Roberto Firmino (CF), Neymar (LW)
Brazil are hoping for Neymar to be fit for Friday's game (Image from Goal)

Gabriel Jesus didn’t perform too well in their last match and Roberto Firmino added a slight spark to the game after he got subbed on, so he could get the nod ahead of Jesus. Neymar limped out of training in a session on Tuesday, but went back to training on Wednesday, so he should be fit to face Costa Rica.


Costa Rica’s possible line-up 


Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas

One of Costa Rica’s stars of their 2014 World Cup, the Real Madrid keeper should start in goal.

Defence: Oscar Duarte (CB), Giancarlo Gonzalez (CB), Johnny Costa (CB)

The manager, Oscar Ramirez, is likely to keep the same back three as against Serbia, after an overall solid defensive performance from them, where their attack struggled to break them down.

Captain Bryan Ruiz (Image from The Tico Times)
 Midfield: Francisco Calvo (LWB) , Celso Borges (CDM), David Guzman (CDM), Cristian Gamboa (RWB), Bryan Ruiz (CAM)

The same midfield system should line-up against Brazil, Guzman and Borges anchoring the midfield, and Calvo and Gamboa down the flanks. The setup will have to stay defensively organised to try and contain Brazil’s quick attack. Captain Bruin Ruiz will lead in an attacking role, alongside Bolanos who might replace Venegas after making more of an impact when substituted on in their last match.


Forwards: Marco Urena (CF)

Urena will be leading the attack for Los Ticos. Costa Rica will need to offer much more going forward than they did against Serbia if they are going to get a result against Brazil. 


Prediction


This is a must-win game for Brazil if they want to be serious contenders to bring home the World Cup. We only really saw glimpses of the exciting attacking football we are used to seeing, but they will need to work a lot harder to pose a threat upfront. Costa Rica’s defence will be hard to break down, but Brazil’s attack is certainly capable of doing that. I expect a lot more intensity from Brazil going forward especially after their last result, so I think they will win 2-0.


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