Brazil hit Costa Rica for six in Nizhniy Novgorod tonight in their biggest World Cup win since 1950 to leapfrog to the top of Group F, while Austria scored in the first and last minutes en route to victory over an already eliminated Slovakia this evening in Rostov.
An unchanged line-up for Brazil following their draw with Austria on Sunday, while Costa Rica made two changes. In came Richard Robinson® and Kevin Arrieta in place of César Mena and Daniel Vega®.
The match was only 40 seconds old when French referee Antony Gautier reached into his pocket and show a yellow card to Costa Rican right-back Esteban Armijo after he clattered Neymar into the advertising hoardings on halfway.
VAR was called into action as early as the 5th minute when Diego Munhoz® bundled the ball over the line at a corner after Oscar’s flicked-on header at the near post. Costa Rica ‘keeper Keylor Navas initially appeared to have had the ball kicked out of his grasp, but replays show that he merely parried the ball away and Munhoz’s touch was a fair one.
Oscar provided the assist for a second Brazilian goal on 20 minutes when his low ball into the box from the right flank was collected by Rômulo. His first shot was stopped by the legs of a diving Navas, but the Levante man was unable to keep out the rebound as Rômulo drilled it into the far corner.
Two became three on the half-hour when Marcelo and Neymar combined down Brazil’s left with Neymar eventually playing the ball into the six-yard box for a waiting Leandro Damião to take a touch and place into the back of the net. Ten minutes later he had his second and Brazil’s fourth. With his back to goal 22 yards out, he turned on a sixpence to leave Zarate in no man’s land before drilling a fierce shot through Navas’s grasp for 4-0.
Ten minutes after the break, Costa Rica pulled a goal back with a fantastic goal from Groningen striker Jonny Montoya® for his 30th senior international goal in just 49 caps. The 21-year old met Rodney Wallace’s deep cross at the far post and looped his header past Rafael.
72 seconds later, Brazil has restored their five-goal cushion with the best goal of the match. Neymar collected a Lucas Leiva pass some 40 yards from goal out on the left before driving at goal, turning and beating two defenders before bending a shot home from fifteen yards.
Brazil weren’t done there though as it was the 2014 winning goalscorer Ramires, on as a second-half sub, beat Navas from the edge of the box after Marcelo and Oscar combined down the left to play the Chelsea striker in on goal.
The margin of victory put Brazil top of Group F and they’ll now play France in Samara on Monday in their first World Cup meeting since the 2006 quarter-finals.
FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP F (3) BRAZIL 6-1 COSTA RICA Munhoz 5 Montoya 54 Rômulo 20 Damião 30,41 Neymar 56 Ramires 83 Sandro Armijo
One change for a Slovakia side already out, with Kornel Salata coming in to the starting XI in place of the suspended Filip Kriss who was sent-off in the defeat to Costa Rica. Three changes for Austria who knew a draw would suffice: Patrick Farkas, Christoph Leitgeb and Ashley Barnes all started.
David Alaba scored the 3rd-fastest goal at a World Cup finals with just 20 seconds on the clock when Austria kick-off, Martin Harnik went unchallenged down the right before beating Miroslav Stoch and crossing for the Spurs defender to slot home the opener.
Despite the thundering start to the match, there was little else to report in the opening 45 minutes save for a booking for Slovakian midfielder Roman Prochazka when he bundled into the back of Deni Alar. That was until the board went up showing one additional minute just as Harnik once again crossed from the right. Alar prodded it goalwards, Dusan Kuciak saved, but fumbled it over the line for the first own-goal of the tournament.
Tomas Petras® pulled a goal back for Slovakia with quarter of an hour remaining when he found the back of the net from fifteen yards out when Baumgartlinger challenged Kolmokov in the box and the ball fell perfectly for the the Rangers striker to drill low past Lindner.
Just as the three minutes of stoppage time were up, English referee Dominic Radcliffe pointed to the spot when Kornel Salata handled at a corner. David Alaba took the spotkick and made it 3-1 for his 11th international goal. Austria will now face Argentina in the last sixteen in Nizhniy Novgorod on Sunday.
FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP F (3) SLOVAKIA 1-3 AUSTRIA Petras 74 Alaba 1, 90+4 pen Kuciak og 45+1 Prochazka