Coutinho Saves Brazil From Getting Concacaf’d By Costa Rica

Costa Rica put on a near master class of peak Concacaf behavior, but Brazil pulled out a 2-0 victory with two goals in stoppage time.

The United States is not in the 2018 World Cup and Costa Rica just showed the world why. No matter how skilled a team is (or isn’t), it is extremely difficult to beat a Concacaf side like Costa Rica, Panama or Honduras. But a stoppage-time Philippe Coutinho goal vs Costa Rica was just enough to get Brazil a vital three points with a 2-0 win and knock Los Ticos out of the tournament on Friday in Russia.

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For 90 minutes it looked like Costa Rica would hold the five-time champions to a scoreless draw, which would have been the first such draw of the tournament. Los Ticos defended deep, occasionally pushed forward to provide at least some threat of scoring and — in peak Concacaf behavior — killed time like absolute pros. 

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas repeatedly fell down and pretended to be hurt after the slightest of bumps from Brazilian players. The rest of his team did similar, trying to shorten the match as much as possible. For 90 minutes, it looked like it might work.

But then came the Coutinho goal vs Costa Rica, which saved Brazil from a second straight draw in the group stage. 

The goal wasn’t anything special, the ball being lumped into the box to try to make something happen, but it worked. Brazil had countless chances denied by Navas prior (and a penalty kick rightly revoked by VAR), so it was a long time coming and was fully deserved. And Brazil coach Tite loved it.

Neymar added another goal in the 97th minute after Costa Rica’s will had been broken.

Neymar's goal added a bit of sheen to a tough win for Brazil, which nearly started the tournament with two points from two matches. But the best teams find ways to win when it matters most, and Brazil fans will be breathing a sigh of relief after the Coutinho goal vs Costa Rica.

Best of all for Brazil fans, they didn't end up like Argentina.

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