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For Neymar and Brazil, relief replaces exasperation and frustration

Neymar let his emotions show after scoring for Brazil against Costa Rica, leading the FC crew to debate whether the display was over the top.
ESPN's Dalton Cara perfectly captures Neymar's emotions following Brazil's emphatic late win over Costa Rica.
Paul Mariner and Alexis Nunes share their thoughts on Douglas Costa's performance which helped Brazil get a late win against Costa Rica.
Philippe Coutinho finally put Brazil ahead in the stoppage time and Neymar added a second as Brazil survived against Costa Rica.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- The whistle had barely left referee Bjorn Kuipers' lips when Neymar sank to his knees on the lush pitch of the Death Star stand-in known as the Krestovsky Stadium. He sobbed and cried, the way a guy can when he feels alone with 22 brothers in close proximity and 68,000 cheering fans a stone's throw away.

He looked a shell, emotionally empty, the last fumes spent scoring Brazil's second in the 2-0 victory over Costa Rica. Because he's Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, which...

 By Tim Vickery

Brazil learn World Cups are different, as Neymar deals with pressure

Philippe Coutinho finally put Brazil ahead in the stoppage time and Neymar added a second as Brazil survived against Costa Rica.
Neymar let his emotions show after scoring for Brazil against Costa Rica, leading the FC crew to debate whether the display was over the top.
Paul Mariner and Alexis Nunes share their thoughts on Douglas Costa's performance which helped Brazil get a late win against Costa Rica.
Laureano Bisan EtameĢ-Mayer points out lessons Costa Rica could learn from Brazil after their 2-0 defeat in the World Cup.

Friday's 2-0 win over Costa Rica gets Brazil on their way in this World Cup, but a question remains: Where is the team that cut such an imperious swathe through South American qualifying, the team that, after coach Tite took over, accumulated 10 wins and two draws, scoring 30 and conceding just three?

It appears in flashes -- the first 20 minutes against Switzerland and the last six vs. Costa Rica, for example -- but there is no denying that the side, which made football look easy in the build-up...

Neymar crucial as Philippe Coutinho stars and Willian suffers in nervy win over Costa Rica

Paul Mariner and Alexis Nunes share their thoughts on Douglas Costa's performance which helped Brazil get a late win against Costa Rica.
Neymar let his emotions show after scoring for Brazil against Costa Rica, leading the FC crew to debate whether the display was over the top.
Philippe Coutinho finally put Brazil ahead in the stoppage time and Neymar added a second as Brazil survived against Costa Rica.
World Cup: Neymar (90+7') Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica
World Cup: Philippe Coutinho (90+1') Brazil 1-0 Costa Rica
Brazil were denied a penalty after the referee pointed to the spot only to reverse the decision after looking at VAR.

It wasn't the best of performances, but Brazil dominated Costa Rica from kickoff to the final whistle in Friday's critical 2-0 victory.

Finishing is becoming a bigger problem, because the team again had the monopoly of the ball, but had trouble scoring. It looked like the match would end in a scoreless draw until Philippe Coutinho and Neymar scored to seal Brazil's first victory in this World Cup.

Positives 

Brazil never gave up, even when pressed by the clock. Coutinho was the best player...

Brazil's win over Costa Rica features brilliant use of VAR (sorry, Neymar)

Paul Mariner and Alexis Nunes share their thoughts on Douglas Costa's performance which helped Brazil get a late win against Costa Rica.
Neymar let his emotions show after scoring for Brazil against Costa Rica, leading the FC crew to debate whether the display was over the top.
Philippe Coutinho finally put Brazil ahead in stoppage time and Neymar added a second as Brazil survived against Costa Rica.

ST PETERSBURG, Russia -- Three quick points following Brazil's 2-0 win over Costa Rica, which featured a glorious use of VAR.

1. Neymar, Coutinho deliver late, late drama

This was about nerves. About the contrast between a baby blue sky visible through the roof of the Saint Petersburg Stadium and dark clouds gathered over the Brazil bench. Their manager, Tite, found himself in serious danger of becoming the first Selecao boss to fail to win in his opening two games in a World Cup.

At halftime,...

Neymar does not need to do it all for Brazil to succeed

After a strange 72 hours in the Brazil camp, the FC panel give thought to what sort of advice Tite would've given Neymar to get him back to his best.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley says Neymar's "circus" in Brazil's draw against Switzerland and subsequent injury news are a distraction to the team.
After returning to training, Neymar says he's feeling better physically and hopes to improve in Brazil's second group stage game against Costa Rica.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes predict who will come out on top between Brazil-Costa Rica, Nigeria-Iceland and Serbia-Switzerland.
Neymar returned to Brazil's training after sustaining an injury during Tuesday's training session.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Sometimes, it's good to be noticed. Your grandmother might have told you that the "squeaky wheel gets the grease," or whatever the equivalent maxim might be.

Other times, though, it might be worth keeping a lower profile; at least, as low as the follicular stylings of Nariko, the GOAT of World Cup hairdressers allow. Because there is something to be said for doing the silent-assassin thing or, at least, letting your gifted teammates carry some of the load.

The Brazilian FA (CBF)...

Thiago Silva is back in Brazil's good graces after 2014 disaster and exile

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes predict who will come out on top between Brazil-Costa Rica, Nigeria-Iceland and Serbia-Switzerland.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- When Brazil manager Tite announced he would be using more than one captain during Russia 2018, as a way (in his words) to share leadership responsibilities around the squad, it was an incredible exercise of the imagination to assume Thiago Silva would get a go.

That is not to say that Tite's choice to wear the armband in Friday's game against Costa Rica did not cause a certain frisson. Four years after becoming a symbol of Brazil's mental implosion at their own World...