World Cup: Brazil v Costa Rica – Is the Samba beat out of tune?

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Brazil take on Costa Rica on Friday [13:00 UK BST] as they seek to register a first victory of the World Cup in Russia.

The Selecao appeared on course to make a perfect start to their World Cup 2018 campaign in their opener against Switzerland when Philippe Coutinho put them ahead after 20 minutes with a curling effort from range.

That was as good as it got for the five-time champions however, as the Swiss fought back and claim a draw thanks to Steven Zuber’s header early in the second half.

Brazil may feel hard done by as Zuber pushed his marker to earn a free header from a corner but the fact Coutinho’s strike was their only effort on target until the latter stages suggests they may have a few problems to iron out.

Despite having a wealth of quality to call on in attack the Brazilians never really managed to find any kind of rhythm in their first group match. That may have been a result of Switzerland’s tactics but with the star names Brazil boast up front they should have been able to solve that puzzle.

It isn’t all doom and gloom for coach Tite as all of the pre-tournament favourites have struggled, particularly Argentina who are on the verge of an early exit and champions Germany who failed to break down a resolute Mexico as they went down 1-0.

Brazil remain the favourites @ 4/1 for World Cup glory.

The South American heavyweights will now see Friday’s clash with the Costa Ricans as an ideal opportunity to try and find a bit of form and cohesion in attack before the bigger tests that lie ahead.

We should see a huge effort from Costa Rica as they will view this as their biggest fixture of the tournament. However, if Brazil can make an early breakthrough expect them to up the pressure and go for the kill after being guilty of easing off after taking the lead against the Swiss.

The Selecao are 4/19 to claim the win on Friday and they should be looking to make a statement against Costa Rica after their limp attacking display in their curtain raiser and may be able to secure a victory with some room to spare.

Brazil are priced @ 2/1 to win by three or more goals in the World Cup 2018 – Price Boosts.

Costa Rica are 19/1 to cause what would be a huge upset and a draw is available at 21/4.

One issue for Tite is the fitness of Neymar after he missed the end of the season with Paris Saint-Germain. Brazil’s star forward is expected to start against Los Ticos despite being troubled by an ankle injury during training earlier this week.

Neymar is clearly fit enough to play after completing the Switzerland match with no problems but he isn’t at 100% either, and that may be a major stumbling block for Brazil as they seek to add to their collection of World Cup crowns.