By 90Min
June 21, 2018

World Cup favourites Brazil will take on Costa Rica in Group E this week, hoping that they can get their first win at the tournament this summer.

The Seleção were forced to share the spoils with Switzerland last week, while their Central American opponents suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Serbia.

This is a must-win game for both sides as they look to progress into the knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup, but Costa Rica have the odds stacked against them and are expected to head into the last game in Group E at the bottom of the table.


Classic Encounter


Costa Rica 2-5 Brazil (World Cup 2002)

JIMIN LAI/GettyImages
Meetings between Brazil and Costa Rica may only come around once in a blue moon, but these two sides served up a humdinger of a match during the World Cup back in 2002, where the Seleção would eventually go on to lift the trophy.

Almost 40,000 fans were packed into the Suwon World Cup Stadium on June 13 as a quick fire brace from Ronaldo put Brazil into a comfortable position after roughly 10 minutes. 

Makeshift midfielder Edmílson then got on the scoresheet with an outrageous bicycle kick but Costa Rica responded just one minute later, with Paulo Wanchope converting after a clever passing move from the underdogs.

Costa Rica looked as though they would stage an unlikely comeback when strike partner Rónald Gómez headed the ball into the back of the net shortly after half time, but Brazil flexed their muscles and ensured the win by scoring two more goals, with Rivaldo and Júnior both getting their names on the scoresheet late on.

Key Battle


Neymar vs. Cristian Gamboa

Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Brazil poster boy Neymar might have had a fairly quiet evening against Switzerland last week, largely due to their rough tactics with the Paris Saint-Germain winger, but the 26-year-old could have a field day this Friday.

The man tasked with keeping Neymar quiet will likely be Celtic defender Christian Gamboa. 


The 28-year-old was Costa Rica's joint lowest ranked player in 90min's Player Ratings against Serbia - hardly surprising given that he only made three appearances across all competitions last season.


Couple that with the fact Neymar was on the winning side when he last faced up against the Costa Rican defender in an international friendly back in 2015 - not to mention the Brazilian scoring against Gamboa's Celtic in a 7-0 win at the Camp Nou two years ago - and the PSG star looks set to single handily claim all three points for the Seleção on Friday.


Team News
Buda Mendes/GettyImages
Manchester United midfielder Fred looks set to return to the Brazil squad on Friday after missing their opening match through injury. While the Seleção will hope star man Neymar has shaken off a few knocks he picked up against Switzerland ahead of the match in Saint Petersburg.

Costa Rica should be at full strength again when they face up against Brazil on matchday two after taking their full 23-man squad to the Cosmos Arena in their defeat to Serbia.

Predicted Line-ups


Brazil (4-1-4-1): Alisson, Danilo, Silva, Marquinhos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Willian, Augusto, Coutinho, Neymar, Jesus.


Costa Rica (5-4-1): Navas, Gamboa, Acosta, Duarte, González, Oviedo, Borges, Guzmán, Bolaños, Ruiz, Campbell.


Prediction

Costa Rica's journey in the World Cup this summer could be all but over once they face up against Brazil on Friday, especially if Switzerland claim all three points against Serbia in the late kick off.

The surprise team from the World Cup four years ago disappointed in their opening match this year, and the Seleção will be desperate to make a statement when they face Costa Rica later this week, where an early goal for Tite's squad could see Costa Rica thumped on matchday two.

Prediciton: Brazil 4-1 Costa Rica

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