Two late goals from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar was enough to give Brazil a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica on Friday at Krestovsky Stadium.
Brazil was battered by Switzerland and held to a draw in its World Cup opener. And until the very end in its second act, it was stifled once again.
But goals from Philippe Coutinho in Neymar in stoppage time secured a vital 2-0 victory in Saint Petersburg, sending Brazil to four points in Group E, while Costa Rica has been eliminated with a match to spare.
Costa Rica who held Brazil strongly throughout the 90 minutes lost focus on stoppage time only for Coutinho and Neymar to punish them with a startling late two goals.
The win for Brazil, means that they have amassed four points in two matches and will face Serbia in their final group game as they look forward to booking qualification the the knock-out stages.
Keylor Navas was tremendous in goal again, while Neymar had a late penalty call overturned by VAR, and while it looked like Brazil was going to have to settle for the draw, its attacking stars came through with the clutch, late goals.
Brazil came out on the front foot, and Coutinho fired the first warning shot in the fourth minute. On the opposite side of the field from where he opened the scoring vs. Switzerland, the Barcelona star launched a long-range attempt, though this one flew over the bar.
Brazil had a goal disallowed in the 26th minute. Neymar had a ball tackled away, but it landed right at the foot of Marcelo. The Real Madrid left back slipped in a pass for Gabriel Jesus, who finished, but the Man City forward was well offside at the time of the pass, and the assistant referee’s flag went up to nullify the score.
Costa Rica continued to stifle Brazil’s creativity in the final third, but that didn’t stop the Seleção from firing from long range, which is what Marcelo tried in the 41st minute, only to have Keylor Navas make a diving save by his right post to keep it 0-0.