Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica Player Ratings: Acosta impresses


Tite’s changes worked a treat –

Injury-time goals from Coutinho and Neymar gave Brazil their first win of Russia 2018 – a 2-0 triumph over Costa Rica. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.


Alisson – the Roma stopper has attracted interest from the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea, but here he had a quiet afternoon, barring one slightly nervy moment in the second half. 5

Fágner – with first choice right-back Danilo absent, many fans were worried about his lack of recent exposure to international football and that was reflected in the performance. Fagner was rarely entrusted with possession and when he did get the ball, he made more simple decisions than we saw from Marcelo. 5
Thiago Silva – named captain for this game and showed his leadership qualities as well as a nice passing range. Appears determined not to make the horrors of the semi-final defeat to Germany four years ago fester. 7
Miranda – the 33-year-old, playing at what could be his last World Cup, was arguably Brazil’s best player in the draw with Switzerland. He might not have the same passing ability as Silva but his physical qualities – as well as ruthless gamesmanship at times – makes him a tough customer. 7
Marcelo – often looked keen to cut inside and either shoot or find the incisive pass, but the space for Brazil was often in the wide areas. Needed to hold the width for longer to open Costa Rica up, although his quality of passing cannot be questioned. 6

Paulinho – put in some strong challenges that broke up opposition counter-attacks, but one would have liked to see him make some runs into wide areas to mix things up. Although he didn’t play badly, his skillset wasn’t necessarily suited to the nature of the game; Brazil looked far better when he was replaced by a striker. 5
Casemiro – stayed disciplined in the holding role, perhaps at times too disciplined, given that Costa Rica rarely committed to their attacks. 5

Coutinho – he was deployed in the number 10 role on paper, but with right-footed tendencies he tended to drift over to the left in the first half and occupy the kind of positions other players wanted to. He found more space in the second half though and deserved his injury-time goal, for which he showed impressive movement. 7
Willian – it’s difficult to image Willian getting into a great Brazil side of yesteryear. Wasn’t brave enough in possession to diversify the approach play, although he wasn’t fed the ball as often as he might have liked. 5
Neymar – in the first half, he drove into central areas every time he got the ball and that made Brazil’s approach play too predictable. Held the width more willingly after the break and the football was more fluent as a result. Deserved his goal, even his elaborate fall in hope of a penalty – subsequently denied by VAR – didn’t help his cause. 8

Gabriel Jesus – his main role was to drag the centre-backs out of position in order to allow other players more space and he did that well, even if he was denied by Navas in the first half, then saw his header hit the bar after the break. 7

Douglas Costa (on 45) – his threat on the right flank was vitally important, because it diversified Brazil’s approach play, which had all gone down the left in the first half. 9
Roberto Firmino (on 68) – played a crucial role in occupying Duarte, which meant Costa Rica had one fewer centre-back free to make blocks and watch late runners, which was problematic for both goals. 9
Fernandinho (on 90+3)

Costa Rica

Keylor Navas – he was the star of the 2014 World Cup and has since won three Champions League titles with Real Madrid; here, we saw why. Navas made a one-on-one save from Neymar in the first half and a string of impressive stops after the break; could have done little about either injury-time goal. 8

Cristian Gamboa – at the last tournament he was known for his pace and drive; perhaps a combination of age, injuries and lack of gametime has interfered with those qualities and we are now seeing a slightly different player. He made a nice run to set up Borges chance in the first half but spent much of the game stuck in his defensive third. 5
Johnny Acosta – despite not being the biggest, Acosta defended his post well and made some crucial blocks to deny Neymar. Arguably Costa Rica’s best outfield player. 8
Giancarlo Gonzalez – made a number of vital clearances, especially in the second half, when his team came under constant pressure. Wasn’t able to ping passes, or threaten in the opposing box, as we saw against Serbia. 7
Oscar Duarte – in the opening game he had the confidence to venture into the opposing half and create, despite being a centre-back. The contrasting nature of this contrast meant he didn’t do so quite as often as he might have liked; appears more comfortable in the opposing half than his own. 5
Bryan Oviedo – part of a relegated Sunderland side last season, but Oviedo put in a solid performance, especially in the first half. His lack of pace perhaps hinders Costa Rica when he has the ball in transition. 6

Celso Borges – started nicely and did the simple things well but oerhaps should have done better with his first half chance. Tired in the second half and therefore found it harder to make interceptions in the opposing half. 6
David Guzman – capable of playing some nice passes when he is given time on the ball, but in the circumstances that was rare. Costa Rica missed his tenacity when he came off, though. 5

Bryan Ruiz – does his best work when he has runners around him in the final third but here, he was asked to scrap for loose balls and his lack of both physical qualities and inclination to battle meant this wasn’t quite his type of game; a couple of clever balls in behind for Urena early on, aside. 3
Marco Urena – didn’t quite have the athleticism to occupy Miranda and Silva, especially when the service to him was poor. Needs the midfield to be closer for him to be effective. 3
Johan Venegas – spent much of the game in his own half trying to combat the threat of Brazil’s left-sided trio, despite having based his career on a more attack-based game. Moved up top when Urena came off without having too much joy. 4

Christian Bolanos (on 54) – only had one chance to attack on the break and on that occasion, his final touch was too heavy. 5
Francisco Calvo (on 75) – as an attack-minded, right-footed left wing-back, he perhaps struggled with a move to centre-back, especially under an extreme level of pressure. 4
Yeltsin Tejeda (on 83) – known as a rock in Switzerland, where he plays his club football, but Los Ticos missed the tenacity of Guzman, the man he replaced. 4