Having seen Argentina humbled 3-0 last night against Croatia to leave them on the brink of World Cup 2018 elimination, Brazil will be aware that they cannot afford to take Costa Rica lightly in their second Group E match, particularly as they surprisingly drew with Switzerland on matchday one. Tite’s squad started excellently and led through Philippe Coutinho’s brilliant strike, but their performance fell flat once they conceded.
With Serbia beating Costa Rica comfortably in their first game, Brazil must now win to keep progression to the last-16 in their own hands. They will be looking to Neymar, who recovered from a long-term injury to reach the tournament, to produce a standout performance on Friday afternoon at the Zenit Arena in Saint Petersburg.
Qualification for the finals was very different for both countries. Costa Rica finished relatively comfortably from CONCACAF with 16 points from 10 matches in the fifth round; four ahead of the United States and five behind the winners Mexico. In contrast, Brazil were the first team to qualify other than the hosts Russia as they dominated CONMEBOL, finishing 10 points clear of Uruguay and losing just once in 18.
That will count for nothing later today, though, and a win for either team would put them in a strong position to reach the second round. Previous meetings suggest that this should be a straightforward Brazil win: in 10 games the Samba Boys have won nine times and lost just once in 1960.
The odds strongly favour Brazil for the 14:00 (CEST) kick-off – they are offered at 1.22 to get their first win of Russia 2018 at Tipbet.com as part of the massive 134 markets that are available. Among the betting options is the opportunity to back the goalscorers. Neymar is 1.95 to find the net at any time, or 3.15 to open the scoring.
Given the shocks that have already taken place at the tournament so far, Costa Rica can certainly not be ruled out and they are 12.2 to win and put their opponents on the verge of elimination, with a draw 6.75. View all the game’s markets here.