Nerves and pressure were the familiar foes of Brazil in the side’s opening World Cup clash against Switzerland – these need to be banished to overcome Costa Rica
Despite Brazil being held to a disappointing 1-1 draw in their World Cup opening game against Switzerland and Tite receiving criticism for some of his decisions, it seems like the Seleção boss will remain loyal to the same starting lineup, against Costa Rica in the decisive match on Friday.
Several Brazilian weaknesses were exposed against Switzerland, but the standout one was perhaps the fact that the team still looked nervous just like in 2014. Tite admitted in his post-match interview that there was huge pressure on the players, and that the pressure even got to him. That was made clear after the manager asked Brazil to sit deep right after taking the lead, instead of taking advantage of being the technically-superior side.
However, according to Globo Esporte, Tite has identified the mistakes that were committed in the opener, yet intends to maintain the same lineup on Friday, because he believes that the way Costa Rica’s defensive set up is very similar to that of Austria, which Brazil had no serious problems in a beating during the 3-0 friendly win in Vienna, two weeks ago.
The good news is that Manchester United midfielder Fred is back from injury. Also available as an option is Chinese Super League star, Renato Augusto, after making his comeback in his second-half cameo performance on Sunday. They are two players who offer much more control in midfield than Paulinho usually does. Their vertical plays could be important in the second half, against a Costa Rican side that would have managed to keep a clean sheet against Serbia, if not for an amazing free-kick by Serbia’s Aleksandar Kolarov. If Brazil struggled to break down Switzerland’s deep-lying defence, it is very possible that the team faces equivalent problems this time around.
Having said that, there remains some sort of optimism in the Brazilian press, about the outcome of the next match. It’s as if there is still a conviction that Brazil could have snatched the winner in the first game if not for refereeing controversial decisions as well as wasteful finishing. The impression is that the team was nervous, with several players as well as the manager, making their World Cup debut and that things from that point could only get better.
Many fans on social media seem confident that Brazil has all what it takes to score three goals against Costa Rica, even if Tite does not make the necessary changes in the starting lineup. At this stage of the tournament, the confidence is still pretty much high for the fans. But if Brazil fails to deliver one more time and shows the same signs of weaknesses on Friday, then you can be sure that Tite’s honeymoon will be over in the blink of an eye, and he, as well as the rest of the players including Neymar, will no longer be immune to criticism.