Brazil lock horns with Costa Rica in must win World Cup clash

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SOCHI, June 21 (AGENCIES): Neymar and Brazil will need to step up their game when they take on Costa Rica in a must win Group E FIFA World Cup clash here on Friday.

Brazil drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their opener last weekend, and Neymar was much criticised for his underwhelming performance.

He was hunted down mercilessly by the Swiss, drawing 10 of Brazil’s 19 fouls, as many as some entire teams.

Neymar also lacked the zip which made him the world’s most expensive footballer when French heavyweights Paris St Germain signed him from Spanish giants FC Barcelona last August.

There was an injury scare after he limped out of Tuesday’s training session with a sore ankle but to his team’s relief the forward is expected to be fit for what could be Brazil’s fourth World Cup match without a win.

Costa Rica, on their part, are desperate for points after they lost their opener to Serbia.

Quarter-finalists in the 2014 Brazil World Cup, Costa Rica have lost seven of their last nine matches and scored only five goals in the process.

“It is going to be a difficult game as are all games in the World Cup,” Brazil attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho was quoted as saying.

“They are a good team. We saw the game against Serbia, and it was only decided through a dead ball situation.”

“This is another opportunity for us. We need to do it, we are all focused. We are mentally strong to play a great game.

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