Brazil vs. Costa Rica: 5 exciting things to watch out for as resilient Los Ticos face talented Selecao at Copa America

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As the 2024 Copa America kicks off, all eyes will be on Brazil as they clash with Costa Rica in Group D action at the SoFi Stadium.

With a rich history and high expectations, the Seleção aim to start their campaign with a bang, while Los Ticos look to upset the odds.

Here are five exciting things to watch out for in this thrilling encounter.

1. Brazil’s New Era Under Dorival Junior

After a tumultuous period, Brazil have found new leadership in Dorival Junior.

The former Flamengo boss took the reins in January, replacing the proposed Carlo Ancelotti, who stayed with Real Madrid.

Junior has begun his tenure with promise, remaining unbeaten in his first four matches. However, his team’s defensive frailties have been evident, conceding six goals in their last three games.

Brazil’s performance under Junior will be under the microscope as they aim to reclaim their dominance in South American football.

2. Costa Rica’s Defensive Resurgence

Costa Rica come into this tournament with a solid defensive record. They have not conceded in their last three competitive fixtures and have won 15 of their previous 16 encounters when scoring the opening goal.

Under Gustavo Alfaro, Los Ticos have shown resilience and organization at the back. This newfound solidity will be tested against Brazil’s potent attack. A strong defensive showing could be the key to an upset.

3. Key Absences and Rising Stars

Brazil will be without several key players, including Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, who is out with an eye socket fracture, and midfield maestro Casemiro, sidelined by an injury.

Additionally, record goalscorer Neymar is still recovering from an ACL issue, and Richarlison is dealing with a calf injury.

This opens the door for young talents like Rodrygo, Endrick, and Vinicius Junior to step up. Vinicius, in particular, is one to watch as he edges closer to the Ballon d’Or shortlist.

4. Costa Rica’s Formidable Attack

While Costa Rica’s defence has been impressive, their attack has been equally potent. They have scored seven goals in their first two World Cup qualifiers this year.

Orlando Galo has been a standout, netting three goals in those qualifiers, while Alvaro Zamora and Gerald Taylor each scored in their recent 3-0 win over Grenada.

Joel Campbell, with over 100 caps, brings experience and creativity to the forward line. The ability of Costa Rica’s attack to breach Brazil’s defence will be a critical factor in the match.

5. Historical Context and Stakes

Brazil have a storied history in the Copa America, with nine titles to their name. However, their last outing in the United States in 2016 saw them fail to advance beyond the group stage for the first time since 1987.
They are determined to avoid a similar fate this year.

Costa Rica, on the other hand, have struggled in this tournament, not advancing past the group stage since 2004. They have also lost nine straight fixtures against Brazil, failing to score in their last three meetings. Both teams have much to prove, and the historical context adds an extra layer of intrigue.

As Brazil and Costa Rica face off, the blend of emerging talent, tactical battles, and historical narratives promises a captivating match. Fans can expect a clash filled with skill, strategy, and passion as these two teams vie for early supremacy in Group D.