World Cup: Brazil Hit Six, Austria Make Last 16 (F)

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


World Cup, Group F: Matchday Two Review

Brazil and Austria shared the points in an entertaining Group F clash in Volgograd today to stay as the top two in the group, with Costa Rica leaving it late to beat ten-man Slovakia to leave them in with a chance of knockout football, while Slovakia are eliminated after two straight defeats.

Brazil lined-up unchanged from their 3-0 win over Slovakia, while Austria made just the one change from the side who thrashed Costa Rica 5-0 last week with Valentino Lazaro replaing Patrick Fargas in centre-midfield.

We were treated to an entertaining first-half, if one that went into the break goalless. Brazil made all three substitutions around the hour mark in an attempt to find an extra creative spark and the disruption to their rhythm almost proved disastrous.

Baumgartlinger intercepted a sloppy pass from Leiva towards substitute Cláudio Winck, and laid the ball off to Leitgeb who was strong against Ramires – also just on the pitch – and he found David Alaba on the left flank on half-way. Alaba did Leiva for pace before cutting inside, holding off Tolói and drilling low past Rafael.

The lead lasted just 137 seconds though, as Brazil attacked from the restart. Ramires was involved working the ball to Marcelo  on the left of the box who’d escaped the attentions of Austrian right-back Junuzovic. Marcelo nodded the ball towards the penalty spot where Leandro Damião hit it sweetly on the volley into the top corner.

Brazil had a handful of corners late on to try snatch a winner but it finished 1-1. Their last game is against Costa Rica in Novogorad on Thursday, while Austria will face eliminated Slovakia in Rostov.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP F (2)
                       BRAZIL 1-1 AUSTRIA
                    Damião 72     Alaba 70

Joel Campbell’s late goal kept Costa Rica in with a chance of qualification for the last sixteen, inflicting a second World Cup defeat on Slovakia who now have only pride to play for. Two changes for Costa Rica with Mena and Zarate coming in at the back, while Slovakia made three changes.

It looked like being a long day at the office for Slovakia when Filip Kiss was shown a yellow card inside four minutes when he caught Campbell with an arm going up for a goal-kick. Bad went to worse 20 minutes later when Yeltsin Tejeda went to ground in front of the assistant under a challenge and Filip Kiss was shown a harsh second yellow.

Slovakia shut up shop after the dismissal and until the final ten minutes looked like they’d done enough to earn a point while still looking dangerous on the counter, but Joel Campbell had other ideas. His run beat the offside trap and he slotted Robinson’s through-ball past Kuciak to win it for Costa Rica.

Defeat eliminates Slovakia, while Costa Rica face the challenge of beating holders Brazil for a place in the Second Round. Group F concludes next Thursday.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP F (2)
                   COSTA RICA 1-0 SLOVAKIA
                  Campbell 81     Kiss s/o 26
                      Herrera     Kiss

World Cup, Day Five: Austria 5-0 Costa Rica

Group F: Austria were absolutely rampant in a 5-0 demolition of Costa Rica in Makhachkala tonight, with ‘keeper Siebenhandl not required to make a single save. Not since Portugal’s 7-0 win over North Korea in 2010 had five different players scored for the same team in one match.

Despite the goalfest, it took until eight minutes before the interval for Austria to make the breakthrough. Christian Fuchs found David Alaba from a long punt upfield and the left-back outpaced Esteban Armijo before being hauled down in the box. Alaba took it himself but his tame penalty was saved by Keylor Navas, however Martin Harnik was quickest to react and slotted home the rebound.

Two goals in two minutes shortly after the break saw Austria pull 3-0 ahead. First, Deni Alar found the bottom corner from 22 yards out as he ran onto Fuchs’ through ball, then within 120 seconds Fuchs himself bent a free-kick in to the top left from 20 yards.

Route one provided a fourth with a little over 20 minutes to play when Alaba got on the end of a long ball from the ‘keeper, beating his man and drilling it into the top corner, and substitute Valentino Lazaro rounded off the scoring just four minutes after coming on. Alar knocked down Jonathan Schmid’s cross into the box, and Lazaro swept home from twelve yards out.

Next up for Austria are Brazil on Sunday, while Costa Rica face Slovakia.

                    FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP F
                      AUSTRIA 5-0 COSTA RICA
                    Harnik 37
                      Alar 52
                     Fuchs 54
                     Alaba 69
                    Lazaro 72
             (Alaba m/pen 37)

                       Kavlak     Montoya