Brazil remain the bookmakers’ favourites to win the 2018 World Cup after sealing a vital 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in Saint Petersburg on Friday afternoon.
However, the South American nation left it very late, securing all three points thanks to two stoppage-time goals from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar.
Brazil had huffed and puffed over the course of the 90 minutes but eventually found the breakthrough thanks to Coutinho, who put the ball through Keylor Navas’s legs from close range.
Neymar, who produced several special moments during the match - including THIS contender for the most eye-catching skill of the tournament - then doubled Brazil’s advantage in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
The 26-year-old, who was the pre-tournament favourite to win the Golden Boot award, notched his first goal of the World Cup after drawing a blank in Brazil’s opener against Switzerland.
Remarkably, Neymar now has 56 international goals to his name and becomes Brazil’s third-highest goalscorer ever. Only Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77) have scored more goals for the Seleção.
The Paris Saint-Germain superstar, who became the most expensive footballer in history after completing a £200 million move from Barcelona last summer, was in floods of tears after the full-time whistle was blown. The relief he felt was palpable.
What Neymar did in the 83rd minute v Costa Rica
However, Neymar let himself down with a dive inside the penalty area during the closing stages. Referee Bjorn Kuipers initially awarded Brazil a penalty before reversing his decision after reviewing the incident on the touchline.
It’s also emerged that he managed to annoy his experienced teammate Thiago Silva for a separate incident which occurred in the 83rd minute of the match.
Following a stoppage and a Costa Rica substitution, Silva sportingly kicked the ball back to Navas from his own half. Neymar could be seen looking towards the centre-back with his arms up as if to say ‘why did you give the ball back?’.
Silva has now revealed that Neymar, annoyed because he felt he should have been awarded a free-kick a little earlier, insulted him.
'I was saddened by his behaviour'
"Today, I was saddened by his behaviour,” Silva told Brazilian outlet Globo, per The Sun. “By the time I returned the ball, he insulted me.
"But I think I was right, because they were trying to save time. I returned the ball because it was not this ball that was going to win us.
"I am calm about that and I was sad about his behaviour towards me."
Silva has every right to feel disappointed by Neymar’s conduct in that instance. He clearly crossed the line by insulting one of his teammates during a match, particularly a senior member of the squad.
Let’s hope he apologised for his actions back in the team hotel that evening.
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