Sports

Brazil win but old questions of mental focus persist

Brazil win but old questions of mental focus persist

It looked like being the game's biggest talking point until Philippe Coutinho and Neymar each scored in injury time to earn Brazil a crucial 2-0 win in the Group E contest in St Petersburg.

Neymar Jr rounded on his critics and defended his emotional reaction to scoring in Brazil's 2-0 World Cup win over Costa Rica after he broke down in tears at the final whistle.

There has been praise for the use of the video assistant referee (VAR) system in Brazil's World Cup game against Costa Rica, after a Neymar penalty decision was reversed when replays showed he had gone down under minimal contact.

"The tears were of joy, success, heart, desire to win".

"Things were never easy in my life, so why would they be now?"

Neymar was redeemed with virtually the last kick of the game as he cushioned a volley into an empty net after a selfless cross from Costa, securing a victory which puts Brazil in a strong position to make the last 16.

In Brazil's opening match against Switzerland, a 1-1 draw, Neymar was fouled 10 times.

Tej became the first-ever Indian ball-boy to feature in a FIFA World Cup.

More news: No drugs or alcohol in Bourdain's body

Much will depend on how quickly Neymar gets back up to speed.

Neymar - named in the starting XI despite struggling with an ankle injury this week - confronted the referee on the pitch and in the tunnel at half-time, presumably taking objection to Costa Rica's rough-and-ready approach to dealing with him.

Brazil's next group match is against Serbia on Wednesday in Russian Federation.

"I think you have to let it out, a great weight was lifted off our shoulders", Thiago Silva said, in quotes reported by Globo's website. Brazil opened with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland.

Serbia play the Swiss later on Friday, while Costa Rica are out of the tournament with defeats in both games so far. "I was going to celebrate with them but I had to limp back!"

His first touch took the ball away from the defender and Coutinho raced in to poke it through the legs of Keylor Navas from six metres out and claim his second goal of the tournament.

After a slighly ponderous first half, Brazil cranked up the pressure in the second as Gabriel Jesus´s header crashed against the crossbar and Coutinho was denied by the ever-present Gamboa on the line.


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