The late drama in Russia produced once more, as stoppage time goals from Phil Coutinho and a first at the World Cup for Neymar, secured a vital 2-0 win over Costa Rica.
The first half was dominated by Brazilian possession, but Costa Rica were leaving their marks on the likes of Neymar Jr. constantly breaking up the play with fouls.
The talismanic forward was fouled 10 times against Switzerland, a highest in one game for 20 years, an acquired target of Rica defenders. He did show his flair to evade challenges, but the final ball wasn’t up to scratch.
It was Costa Rica who had the clearest opening as neat combinations got Cristian Gamboa in behind, but Celso Borges pulled his shot wide. Tite’s men did have the ball in the back of the net but Gabriel Jesus was flagged offside on 27 minutes.
The second half saw a quickening tempo from the Selecao, as Jesus again was denied, this time by the cross bar on 48 minutes.
Neymar is goalless in Russia and had a glimpse of goal on 56 minutes, but his effort was superbly tipped over by Keylor Navas from close range, the pressure was building.
The frustration grew and grew for the South Americans, Neymar blazed over when one on one with Navas then just when he thought his luck was in, VAR overturned a penalty decision, which looked the correct call.
Six minutes added time were given in Saint Petersburg, so only fitting that Brazil waited till then to put the pieces of the jigsaw together.
Bobby Firmino’s cushioned header fell perfectly to the on-rushing Philipe Coutinho nut-megged Navas and sealed relief for Tite and rapturous scenes for fans in yellow.
There was icing on the cake, Douglas Costa got in down the right and just as fans were preparing their exits, Neymar opened his account for the World Cup with a tap in.
Brazil move top of Group E ahead of Serbia’s game with Switzerland, a win for the Swiss would set up a tense meeting between Brazil and Serbia in the battle for qualification. Costa Rica look likely to be heading home.