Preview: Brazil vs Costa Rica - Show more than spaghetti blond curls

Amol Gokhale
Thursday, 21 June 2018

On Wednesday, as he returned to training, the entire country must've heaved a sigh of relief.

Moscow: When you are the world's costliest player it is obvious that things would revolve around you.

Despite having global superstars like Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Marcelo and Thiago Silva in their ranks, everything revolves around one man in Brazil's national team - Neymar Jr.

When Brazil opened their quest for the sixth World Cup against Switzerland, the limelight was on the Paris Saint-Germain man as he made his first competitive start after an ankle injury.

He was brought down mercilessly on numerous occasions by the Swiss to blunt the threat that he poses. The 26-year-old did feel the effects of Switzerland clash the next day in training as he left the session 15 minutes after it began, sparking an injury concern.

On Wednesday, as he returned to training, the entire country must've heaved a sigh of relief.

But, when Brazil face Costa Rica, they would expect more from their star man on the field other than just donning a new blonde spaghetti hairstyle.

The pressure on his shoulders is understandable, but being the star he is, he must deliver. It is not the first time that he is playing on the big stage; he was part of the Barcelona trio where the other two were Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, so he is used to the burden of heavy expectations.

Costa Rica may have lost their opening game, but it was in Brazil 2014 where they topped their group which consisted of Uruguay, England and Italy.

They must have watched the footage of Brazil vs Switzerland game closely and obviously noticed how Neymar's threat was nullified and might opt to take a leaf out of Swiss book, especially with Neymar's tendency to lose his cool.

But if they fail to do that, he is simply unstoppable and can conjure tricks like a magician. He can leave defenders bamboozled and dizzy, and the goalkeeper, helpless.

Ask Austria. He came on ground in the second half to inspire the Samba boys to a comprehensive win in the friendly match in the run-up to the World Cup.

What Saleco would hope for is that Neymar puts on a show against Costa Rica; he needs it as much as his side does. They know how determined he is to perform well after watching the 7-1 debacle from the sidelines, injured.

Brazil and the world wants to see more than just the spaghetti blonde curls.

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