Coutinho & Neymar save Brazil against gallant Costa Rica

World Cup 2018: How to Watch Brazil vs Costa Rica

Philippe Coutinho scored in the first minute of stoppage time, and Neymar followed six minutes later to give Brazil a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica on Friday (Saturday NZ Time) at the Fifa World Cup.

Unlike Argentina and Lionel Messi, Brazil is still in a good position to advance to the round of 16.

Costa Rica conceded again right at the death. "It's something the professor [Tite] always highlights - being mentally strong until the end".

Teammate Marcelo had to drag him away after he confronted the referee in the tunnel at halftime.

"Not everyone knows what happened to me to get here", Neymar said. "But his joy at being on the pitch is contagious".

Brazil's exasperation was embodied by Neymar, who squandered a glorious chance on 76 minutes when he whipped a shot over the crossbar after pouncing on a mistake from Giancarlo Gonzalez to run clear, and then saw a penalty award overturned following consulation with VAR.

Moments later, Neymar was booked for petulantly punching the ball in front of Kuipers as Costa Rica players sprawled out on the turf time wasting. The player constantly pleaded for sympathy while the official routinely told the PSG star to get on with it.

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How much an emotional victory proves to be a launch pad rather than a false dawn remains to be seen as the pre-tournament favourites made heavy work of a Costa Rica side that have now lost their past four games.

"The joy, the satisfaction and the pride of representing the national team is a lot", Brazil coach Tite said, defending Neymar. "We each show it in our own way".

The clock had ticked past 90 minutes, and the five-times champions looked to be edging to a second disappointing draw, when Marcelo floated the ball in from the left and substitute Roberto Firmino headed across to Gabriel Jesus.

Brazil's Neymar reacts after falling in the penalty area during the group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium.

After a goalless first, Brazil stormed out in the second putting enormous pressure on Costa Rica's stout defense.

However, in the second-half, the game sprung to life without the Selecao being at their fluent best.

"If I was the referee I wouldn't go back on my decision but I respect that because it's subject to interpretation", Tite added. "It became very hard for us".

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