For 90 minutes versus Costa Rica, it seemed like it would end 0-0 and Brazil would have drawn both their matches at the ongoing World Cup. But when the final whistle blew, Brazil had won 2-0.
It was another dramatic Brazilian victory: a Gabriel Jesus goal ruled offside, a penalty revoked because Neymar apparently dived, and yet deep into injury time, goals from Coutinho and Neymar came to Brazil’s rescue.
Granted, this Brazil team does not ooze the talent and class that the Samba sides of yesteryears have boasted. But one thing’s certain, their hunger to win is still very much alive.
Brazil have played every World Cup so far, have won five of them, more than any other country, and have finished second and third twice as well. So no matter what happens, as long as Brazil are still at the World Cup, you half expect them to win.
In addition to being burdened as a side with great footballing history, this Brazil side is also reeling from that 7-1 thrashing by Germany in 2014. They have to shake off those ghosts if they are to stride back into gear.
Another worrying factor is Neymar. Definitely Brazil’s talisman, he seems to be carrying an injury, his personal desire to thrive at the grand stage and a football-crazy nation’s hopes of winning a sixth crown. All of it seems to be weighing him down.
In the draw versus Switzerland, he was closed down with 10 fouls committed on him. Costa Rica too came with a plan to shut him out. He tried everything to break free and even had a controversial penalty decision reversed after VAR decided it was a dive. To his credit, he didn’t stop trying and ultimately got his goal.
In the coming matches as well, teams will come with a clear plan to close Neymar down. He needs to be up for the task. Thankfully for Brazil, Coutinho has got his scoring boots to Russia. This strike makes it two goals in two matches for him at the World Cup.
Next up are Serbia who promise a stiffer test. Whether Brazil will be up for it is uncertain, but since they are Brazil at the football World Cup, you always have to give them a chance!