Unchanged Brazil hope to bounce back | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 22, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, June 22, 2018

Unchanged Brazil hope to bounce back

Following a below-par performance in their opening match, Brazil will desperately be looking to bring their World Cup campaign back on track and for Neymar to fire when they take on Costa Rica in Saint Petersburg today.

The record five-time World Cup champions shared the points in a disappointing 1-1 draw against Switzerland in their Group E opener on June 18 as their famed midfield failed to break the resolute Swiss brigade's shields, despite a spectacular early goal from Philippe Coutinho.

The Selecao held a training session in the evening, with their star player Neymar also joining in. The first 15 minutes of the session was open to the media and during that brief period Brazil coach Tite, who had an emotionally-charged pre-match briefing, was seen working with the same eleven that started against Switzerland in the centre of the retractable pitch.

Although Neymar's full recovery from an ankle injury is still a worry for Brazil, especially after the Paris Saint-Germain forward's disappointing show against Switzerland, Tite said that this is the only a process through which the whole team could shrug off the early disappointment.

Brazil have always enjoyed overwhelming success against their South American neighbours Costa Rica, against whom they have won nine out of ten in previous meetings. Their only defeat to Costa Rica was way back in 1960.

Brazil won 5-2 against Costa Rica in their last World Cup encounter in 2002, the tournament where they won the fifth crown.

But despite having a brilliant qualifying campaign under Tite, the men in yellow are struggling on the biggest stage. Although they made it to the semifinals at home four years ago, before suffering an embarrassing 7-1 defeat against Germany, this team has never looked like one that are known to the world as dazzlingly brilliant. They struggled in 2014, and their first game against Switzerland after four years seemed to be a struggle as well.

In the Switzerland game, Neymar was fouled ten times, which was almost a record. This kind tactic was to be expected against a key player of a team that want to win the title and so it is nothing to complain about. Switzerland's equalizing goal might have been ruled out had the VAR been called upon but Tite said that they do not want to be distracted by things they cannot control.

“The rules of VAR are well defined and I don't want to get into that," Tite said. "Our focus is to go out and play better football.” He was also against the idea of tweaking Neymar's natural style of play. When it came to Neymar's fitness concerns, Tite said: “It may be the World Cup but I can't be dishonest about the fitness of a player. If a player is fit he will play and if not he will be left out”.

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