Brazil vs Costa Rica Preview: Can the Brazilians find their flair?

Brazil vs Costa Rica Preview: Can the Brazilians find their flair?

Canarinha will be looking to bounce back after 1-1 draw with Switzerland. Neymar is confirmed to start despite renewing an ankle injury in training.

Jakub Bobro

The 2018 FIFA World Cup clash of South Americans of Brazil and Central Americas Costa Rica will take place at Saint Petersburg Stadium, the home of Zenit St. Petersburg, at 13:00 GMT.

Brazil had to be disappointed to come away with only a draw against Switzerland. After scoring, they seemed to be lacking the ability or motivation to create clear chances and break down Switzerland's responsible defense.

Once Steven Zuber tied the game up, Brazil were looking to their talisman, Neymar, for impact. The Paris Saint-Germain winger was probably too busy getting kicked around by Valon Behrami and the rest of the Swiss players.

Costa Rica were getting some traction as possible dark horses, mostly due to their quarter-final run at the 2014 World Cup. The side led by Óscar Ramírez took a 1-0 loss to Serbia in their opener, after a stunning Aleksandar Kolarov free-kick. We can definitely expect them to go all-out against Brazil, looking for a Mexico-like performance

How fit is Neymar?

After getting fouled ten times by Switzerland, Neymar had to limp out of practice on Tuesday, but Tite confirmed that Brazil's lineup will remain unchanged for this match. Brazil will be hoping that Costa Rica come out and try to make it an open game, so they don't have to break them down as much as they had to with Switzerland. Tite also admitted that Neymar will need five matches to regain full fitness.

There were some calls to start Roberto Firmino ahead of Gabriel Jesus, as the team seemed energized when the Liverpool forward came on for the last 20 minutes.

Brazil will also need to be more clinical in front of goal. Costa Rica's Keylor Navas is a better keeper than Yann Sommer, who they only managed to beat once. Sommer did produce some nice saves, but Brazil certainly had chances to make him work harder, as they put only five of 21 shots on target. 

Thiago Silva, Brazil's captain at the 2014 World Cup, will wear the captain's armband tomorrow after Marcelo led the team out against Switzerland. Tite is continuing his policy of rotating the captaincy.

Expected Starting XI: Alisson; Danilo, T. Silva, Miranda, Marcelo; Paulinho, Casemiro, Coutinho; Willian, Jesus, Neymar.

Will Costa Rica Change?

In their 1-0 loss to Serbia, Costa Rica played three at the back, and neither Christian Bolaños or Joel Campbell started. These are two changes that could be made to the inefficient front three.

Campbell was one of the biggest stars to come out of the World Cup, but the has not been able to establish himself at Arsenal. Reportedly, he is looking to leave the club permanently after the World Cup after being shipped out on loan six times since joining the North London side in 2011.

The one positive to take out of the Serbia game for Costa Rica was the fact, that the only goal they shipped was from a free-kick. Their back three (or five) held up against the likes of Aleksandar Mitrović, Sergej Milinković-Savić, and Dušan Tadić. We are likely to see the five defenders again Brazil, but I believe we will see some personnel change up front

Expected Starting XI: Navas; Gamboa, Acosta, González, Duarte, Calvo; Borges, Guzmán; Ruiz, Campbell, Bolanos.