Current soccer world cup favourites Brazil will square off against Costa Rica on Friday the 22nd of June 2018.
Brazil will be looking to redeem themselves after being held to a draw by Switzerland in their World Cup opener when they face Costa Rica on Friday.
Brazil vs Costa Rica | Friday 22 June | Saint Petersburg Stadium (14:00)
To Win (90 Mins)
Costa Rica 13/1
The Samba Boys flattered to deceive in their World Cup opener when they relinquished their 1-0 lead to share the spoils with Switzerland, making this one a must-win game. Their talisman, Neymar, came under a great deal of criticism after shockingly failing to produce the goods.
If Tite’s men win this match, they’ll be on four points and if they manage to overcome Serbia in their last group match as well, they’ll probably finish as group winners with seven points depending on how Switzerland fare as they also have a chance of finishing with the same amount of points.
I think the team is perfectly balanced with a lot of creative players. Imagine being able to bench Roberto Firmino and Fernandinho, like they did against the Swiss! Coutinho scored his trademark goal where he would drift infield and unleash a ferocious shot with his right foot, sending out a strong message that the team isn’t just about Neymar.
All in all, the team played well but they weren’t clinical in front of goal with the likes of Miranda, Paulinho, Neymar and Firmino being the main culprits. I still consider them one of the tournament’s favourites.
Costa Rica’s defensive approach didn’t do them any good against a cautious Serbian team which has experienced players like Nemanja Matic, Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandar Kolarov, Dusan Tadic and Aleksandar Mitrovic.
They showed signs of struggling against pacey and strong players and that’s how the goal that sank them came about. David Guzman couldn’t cope with Mitrovic and ended up pulling him back which resulted in a free-kick which was adeptly guided to the top, left corner of Keylor Navas’ net.
Oscar Ramirez’s men were also carved open on a few occasions and had it not been for poor finishing by their opponents, they’d have been humiliated. The positive they can take out of their performance is that they displayed a great deal of fighting spirit and they were evenly matched with their opponents in terms of possession. They just need to be more creative in the final third.
Verdict: Brazil (-1) Handicap (13/20)
Costa Rica are a team with a great deal of fighting spirit but I foresee them coming unstuck against a technically superior Brazilian side that’s in desperate need of a victory. A straight win is not worth a punt at 2/9 so I’ll back the South Americans to win on the (1-) Handicap, priced up at 13/20.