Brazil vs Costa Rica

Stuttering Brazil to get back on track

A feature of the first week of the World Cup has been the struggles of the fancied teams at the tournament and that could be the case again when Brazil take on Costa Rica in St Petersburg.

The five-time winners were decidedly average in their 1-1 draw against Switzerland, with Neymar failing to impress, and they could struggle again against a Costa Rica side that are better than their performance against Serbia indicated.

Brazil 6.75 to beat Costa Rica 1-0

Of the first 20 matches in Russia, no fewer than nine have finished 1-0, with the likes of Uruguay, Spain, Portugal and Sweden all content to win by the narrowest of margins against so-called weaker opposition.

Brazil desperately need three points to get back on track and reassert their position as favourites to win the World Cup – they are currently available at 5.45 to lift the trophy on July 15.

Brazil 1.71 to win to nil

Costa Rica were the surprise package in the 2014 World Cup when they reached the quarter-finals but, after their 1-0 loss to Serbia on Sunday, it is difficult to see how Los Ticos will reach the knockout stages this time from what is turning into a very evenly-matched group. They are 41.00 to reach the quarter-finals again.

Many of their players were at their peak four years ago and a squad that is the second oldest in Russia struggled to create chances against Serbia and will surely find it even harder against a Brazil team that is certain to dominate possession.

Oscar Ramirez’s side barely created a worthwhile goalscoring opportunity against Serbia and there is a real possibility that they could be eliminated from the tournament without scoring a goal.

Coutinho 4.75 to score the first goal

Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant early goal against Switzerland which Brazil failed to capitlaise on.

However, the Barcelona star played well in that game and could break the deadlock again on Friday, as Brazil attempt to unlock a tight Costa Rica defence.