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Vipers SC Go Top, Express FC Stay Bottom Of UPL



UPL results: Friday 2nd March 2018

Maroons FC 1-1 Vipers SC

(Solomon Walusimbi 76’)  (Daniel Sserunkuma 24’)

Express FC 0-0 Proline FC

Vipers SC moved on top of the Uganda Premier League (UPL) after a 1-1 draw away at Maroons FC while Express FC remained bottom after a goalless draw at home to Proline FC.

Three Horse race for the UPL title

Vipers SC will rue having missed the chance to go two points clear of second placed SC Villa after failing to hang onto the lead in Luzira. In a game with few goal scoring chances, UPL top scorer Daniel Sserunkuma scored a tap in after Maroons goal keeper parried a Milton Kalisa attempt on goal into his path. Leading 1-0 at half time, the venoms started off better in the second half with half chances falling to Tom Matsiko and Milton Kalisa. Maroons coach Asaph Mwebaze made two changes midway the second half Pius Obuya and William Kibi making way for Olinga and Wani. It’s from these changes that Maroons got the equalizer. Olinga’s pass to the far post was tapped in by Solomon Walusimbi in the 76th minute to leave the venoms dejected.

Relegation scrap

Express FC missed the chance to get off the bottom of the UPL after a goal less draw against visiting Proline who managed to pick up their first points of the second round. Only five points separate 10th placed Mbarara City FC (21) from bottom placed Express FC (16).  Today’s draw will be a good result for Proline FC who moved one point above relegation but for Express FC it seems like they are running out of time with 11 games to play

UPL top scorers

Next UPL Fixtures: Saturday 3rd March 2018

Bright Stars FC Vs SC Villa at Champions Stadium, Mwererwe

BUL FC Vs Masavu FC at Kakindu Stadium, Jinja

KCCA FC Vs Soana FC at Star Times Stadium, Lugogo (Live on Azam TV)

Kirinya Jinja Vs Onduparaka FC at Bugembe Stadium, Jinja

UPDF FC Vs Mbarara City FC at Bombo Barracks Grounds

Note: All matches kick off at 4pm



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DAY 11 WORLD CUP PREVIEW/STATS/H2H: Senegal Are Unbeaten In Their Three Previous Games With Japan, England Play Panama For The First Time PLUS Colombia & Poland



Sunday 24 June
England vs Panama (Group G) – Nizhny Novgorod – 3pm
Japan vs Senegal (Group H) – Ekaterinburg – 6pm
Poland vs Colombia (Group H) – Kazan – 9pm

Midfielder Dele Alli returned to training with England, but is likely to miss Sunday’s World Cup Group G game against Panama.
The Tottenham player, 22, suffered a thigh injury during Monday’s 2-1 win over Tunisia.
Pictures of assistant manager Steve Holland’s training notes seemed to indicate Ruben Loftus-Cheek would replace him in England’s starting XI.
Alli has trained alone for the past three days and manager Gareth Southgate said the player was “unlikely” to be fit for England’s second group game.
He started training with the main group on Saturday but was withdrawn after warm-ups to work individually.
World Cup debutants Panama were beaten 3-0 by Belgium in their opening match.
Coach Hernan Dario Gomez has already confirmed that he will field the same XI against England.
Harry Kane’s last-minute intervention got England off to a flying start and gave them a win in their opening game of a major tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup, when they beat Paraguay. At times against Tunisia it wasn’t pretty, or perfect, but with a bit more luck, composure and favourable decisions they would have won with ease.
The Panamanians played to type in their opening game with Belgium. Los Canaleros (The Canal Men) were aggressive, robust, but ultimately hugely outclassed. The Belgians knew they had been in a game, though, and complained afterwards about some of the tackles that were flying in.
“I don’t know what people are complaining about,” captain Roman Torres said. “Football is like that – you always have to impose yourself, you have to mark out your territory.”
Their coach Hernan Dario Gomez was in charge of Colombia when they lost 2-0 to England at France 1998. His opposite number in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday, Gareth Southgate, was on the bench.

This will be the first meeting between England and Panama.
Panama are the 38th different nation England have faced at a World Cup.
England have only lost their first meeting against a nation at the World Cup in five of their previous 37 matches (v USA, Spain, Uruguay, Hungary and Italy).

They have only won their opening two games at a World Cup twice before, in 1982 and 2006.
England’s victory over Tunisia ended a run of four World Cup matches without a win (D1, L3).
They are unbeaten in their last 11 internationals (W8, D3).
Kane became the first England player to score a brace in a World Cup match since Gary Lineker against Cameroon in 1990.
The last England player to score more goals in the group stage of a World Cup tournament than the two Kane has already scored was Lineker in 1986 (three).
The Three Lions’ 2-1 win over Tunisia was the first time they had scored more than once in a World Cup match since a 2-2 draw with Sweden in 2006.

In their 3-0 loss to Belgium, Panama suffered the biggest defeat by a World Cup debutant since Ukraine lost 4-0 to Spain in 2006.
The last side to lose by three or more goals in both of their opening two World Cup matches on their tournament debut were Greece in 1994, who lost 4-0 to Bulgaria and Argentina.
They received more yellow cards (five) than they had shots on target (two) against the Belgians.
Panama have lost four of their last six internationals (W1, D1) and have only won one of their last eight (D2, L5).
They have failed to beat any of the previous 10 European sides they have faced in their history.

Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda suffered a bruised thigh after coming on as a substitute in the 2-1 win against Colombia, and will be monitored.
Forward Shinji Okazaki was a doubt prior to the opening match because of a calf problem but played the final five minutes, so should be in contention.
However, Okazaki is unlikely to displace Yuya Osako, who impressed as a lone striker in their last match.
Senegal also won their first game and they may be unchanged.
Stoke’s Mame Diouf started against the Poles but didn’t register a single shot, and was withdrawn after an hour.
Should Senegal opt for a change up front, Moussa Konate and Moussa Sow are alternative options.
Japan and Senegal are the pacesetters in Group H with a win apiece after both capitalised against opponents who hit the self-destruct button.
The Japanese had a numerical advantage for 87 minutes in their opener following Carlos Sanchez’s dismissal for Colombia.
Senegal, meanwhile, were gifted their second goal against Poland, with the quick-thinking Mbaye Niang tapping into an empty net after a calamitous back-pass from Grzegorz Krychowiak.
Japan’s win was the first at a World Cup for an Asian team against a South American side. Opponents Senegal have also been flying the flag for their continent, as they were the only African side to avoid defeat in the opening round of games.
Another Senegal victory will leave them on the brink of the last 16 – progress would be confirmed if Colombia fail to beat Poland later in the day. Conversely, Japan will go through if they win and the Poles fail to record a victory.

Senegal are unbeaten in their three previous games with Japan, all of which were friendlies.
The Senegalese have won the last two encounters, keeping clean sheets in both games (2-0 in 2001 and 1-0 in 2003).

Victory would see Japan become the first Asian side to win their opening two games at a World Cup.
The only previous occasion Japan have won consecutive games at a World Cup came at the 2002 tournament, which they co-hosted.
On that occasion they beat Russia and Tunisia in their second and third group games.
Japan have won two of their three World Cup games against African opponents, although they lost the more recent encounter, a 2-1 defeat by Ivory Coast in 2014.
The Japanese played 377 passes in the second half against Colombia, compared to just 218 in the first half (despite their opponents playing virtually the entire game with 10 men).
Keisuke Honda has been directly involved in six of Japan’s last eight World Cup goals, scoring three and assisting three.
Honda has not scored in his last 15 international games, a run stretching back to September 2016.

Senegal have the best win rate of any African side to have played at a World Cup, winning three of their six matches (50%).
Only two African nations have won their opening two World Cup matches – Cameroon in 1990 and Nigeria in 1998.
This will be the first time Senegal have faced Asian opponents in a World Cup game.
They have conceded five times in their last nine games in all competitions, with just one of those goals coming in the first half.

Colombia’s James Rodriguez could start Sunday’s World Cup Group H match against Poland after coming on as a substitute in the defeat by Japan.
Poland forward Dawid Kownacki may start the game after he impressed against Senegal as a second-half substitute.
Centre-back Kamil Glik has returned to full training after shoulder injury but remains a doubt for Sunday’s game.
That means Thiago Cionek, his replacement against Senegal, is likely to keep his place.
Poland had huge support inside the Spartak Stadium and are the seeded team in Group H – but they were disappointing in all areas during their opening defeat by Senegal.
Leading striker Robert Lewandowski struggled to make his mark during his World Cup debut, and his side must now produce the goods on Sunday.
Their 2-1 defeat came hours after Japan had beaten 10-man Colombia 2-1.
Poland have never qualified for the second phase after losing their opening game, and they could face an even bigger challenge should Rodriguez return to Colombia’s starting XI.
Colombia, for their part, played 87 minutes of their opening match with 10 men after Carlos Sanchez was shown the second-fastest World Cup red card in history.

This will be the first competitive meeting between Poland and Colombia – the South Americans won the most recent friendly 2-1 in Chorzow in 2006.
Colombia have won only two of their nine previous World Cup games against European opponents (D2 L5), though these victories have come in their past four such meetings against Switzerland in 1994 and Greece in 2014.
None of Poland’s nine World Cup games against South American opponents has finished as a draw, with the Eagles winning four and losing five.

Poland have lost seven of their past nine World Cup matches (W2), failing to score in six of those losses.
They have failed to keep a clean sheet in their past nine World Cup matches, since beating Portugal 1-0 in 1986.
Despite failing to score against Senegal in Poland’s opening match, Lewandowski has netted 21 goals in his last 16 appearances for his national team.

Only once before have Colombia lost both of their opening two games in a World Cup tournament, doing so against Romania and the USA back in 1994.
None of Colombia’s 19 games at the World Cup have ended goalless.
Juan Quintero became the first Colombian player to score in two different World Cup tournaments in their opening defeat against Japan (2014 and 2018).
Sanchez’s red card in their opening match against Japan was the first dismissal at the 2018 World Cup and was also Colombia’s first ever sending off in the competition.


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DAY 10 WORLD CUP PREVIEW/STATS/H2H: Will Sweden Kick Out Defending Champions Germany, Belgium Are Unbeaten In Their Last 10 World Cup Group Games PLUS Mexico & Tunisia



Saturday 23 June
South Korea vs Mexico (Group F) – Rostov-on-Don – 3pm
Belgium vs Tunisia (Group G) – Moscow (Spartak) – 6pm
Germany v Sweden (Group F) – Sochi – 9pm
Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio admitted a flu bug hit the Mexico camp before their game with Germany, which affected his substitutions.
But Osorio is expected to stick with the same starting line-up for his team’s second game in Group F.
South Korean keeper Jo Hyeonwoo, a surprise call-up, should keep his place after a solid performance in the 1-0 defeat by Sweden.
The South Koreans may look to reshuffle their attacking 4-3-3 formation.
South Korea will be desperate to stop their World Cup losing streak, which now stands at three games after losing their opening match in Russia.
But after failing to keep a clean sheet in 12 of their previous 13 World Cup matches, keeping Mexico out could be as hard to come by as a goal at the other end.
The South Koreans have not scored in their last two games, but they have never gone three consecutive matches without scoring a goal in the competition.
Mexico will be buoyed by their impressive victory over defending champions Germany in their opening game, and Osorio’s side – and resolute defence – will be tough to beat.
Hirving Lozano scored El Tri’s winner against the Germans and the striker is in red-hot form, following 17 goals and eight assist in 29 appearances for PSV in the Dutch top flight last season.
South Korean midfielder Ki Sungyueng will move to joint-sixth on his country’s all-time appearances list if he picks up his 104th cap on Saturday.

The only previous World Cup meeting between South Korea and Mexico was in 1998, with the Central Americans running out 3-1 winners in the group stages.

South Korea
South Korea have failed to keep a clean sheet in 12 of their last 13 World Cup matches, conceding in each of the last seven games in a row.
In their opening group game versus Sweden, South Korea had more yellow cards (2) than shots on target attempted (0).
The South Koreans are winless in their last seven World Cup matches (D2 L5), losing their last three in a row.
They have failed to score in each of their last two World Cup games – they have never gone three consecutive matches without scoring a goal in the competition.
This will be just the Koreans’ third World Cup meeting with a Concacaf side, following that 3-1 defeat in 1998 and a 1-1 draw with the USA in the 2002 group stages.

Mexico have won all three of their World Cup games against Asian opposition (7 goals for, 2 against).
Mexico have lost just two of their last 18 World Cup group stage matches (W9 D7).
The El Tri have not won back to back matches at the World Cup since 2002, when they beat Croatia and Ecuador in their first two group matches that year.
Rafael Marquez was aged 39 years and 124 days in his substitute appearance against Germany – he was the oldest outfield player to appear in a World Cup match since Roger Milla (42 years, 38 days) played for Cameroon versus Russia in 1994.
Rafael Marquez appeared in the opening match for Mexico, making him the third player to play in five separate World Cup tournaments (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018) after Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal and Germany’s Lothar Matthäus.

Sweden defender Victor Lindelof is expected to start against Germany on Saturday after missing Monday’s 1-0 win over South Korea because of illness.
Leeds United centre-back Pontus Jansson is likely to be replaced by the Manchester United defender, who returned to training on Thursday.
Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus is expected to start for Germany, having been on the bench against Mexico.
Coach Joachim Low is set to change his side after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat.
Defending champions Germany made a dreadful start to their bid to win back-to-back World Cups with a shock defeat by Mexico in their opening Group F game.
Hirving Lozano’s first-half goal in Moscow was decisive, with Low unimpressed by Germany’s frailty in defence. They were uncharacteristically disjointed and must avoid defeat to ensure they don’t go out in the group stages for the first time since 1938.
In contrast, Sweden marked their first appearance in the World Cup for 12 years by beating South Korea thanks to a penalty from Andreas Granqvist. At 33, the captain became the oldest player to score on his World Cup debut since Martin Palermo, who was 36 when he scored for Argentina in 2010.
They overcame a 60-year drought too because they hadn’t won their first match at a World Cup since 1958, when the tournament was held in their own backyard.
Since then, Sweden have qualified for seven World Cups – reaching Russia by defeating Italy 1-0 in a two-legged play-off, after beating the Netherlands to second place in their qualifying group.
Victory on Saturday will send them through to the knockout stages for the first time since 2006.

Germany (or West Germany) are unbeaten in their past 11 games against Sweden (winning six, drawing five), whose last win came against West Germany in April 1978 (3-1).
The two most recent matches between these sides have produced a total of 16 goals – with a 4-4 draw in Germany in October 2012 before Sweden lost 5-3 at home in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
Germany (or West Germany) have won three of their four World Cup games against Sweden (in 1934, 1974 and 2006), with their only defeat coming in 1958 when Sweden – as host nation – reached the final.
That was Sweden’s only competitive win against the Germans (with three draws and eight defeats) – their other 11 victories against them came in friendlies.

Defeat against Mexico in Moscow was only the second time a German side had lost their opener at a World Cup, also losing against Algeria in 1982. However, they reached the final of the competition that year.
West Germany lost back-to-back matches at the 1958 World Cup, to Sweden in the semi-final and France in the third-place match, while East Germany lost back-to-back matches to Brazil and the Netherlands in 1974 – but no German side has suffered successive defeats at the finals since.
Thomas Muller has scored 10 goals from just 14 shots on target at the World Cup.
But Muller was the only outfield Germany player to not register a single shot in their defeat by Mexico and he has not had a shot in his past 239 minutes of World Cup football.

Sweden have faced the reigning champions at the World Cup twice before and won both times – in 1950 against Italy and 1958 against West Germany.
Their 1-0 win against South Korea was their first in their opening match at a World Cup since beating Mexico 3-0 as hosts in 1958.
They also last won consecutive World Cup matches back in 1958 en route to the final.
Sweden’s goal against South Korea was their first in 402 minutes of international football, since Ola Toivonen scored against Chile back in March.

Belgium centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen are again expected to be missing with groin and hamstring injuries respectively.
As a result, Dedryck Boyata will continue alongside Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen has been ruled out of the World Cup because of the shoulder injury that forced him off after 16 minutes against England.
Oussama Haddadi is expected to play instead of Ali Maaloul at left-back.
The first 45 minutes of Belgium’s opening game with Panama was certainly not easy on the eye. A ponderous, disjointed display against the World Cup debutants saw Romelu Lukaku touch the ball just seven times in the first half.
Captain Eden Hazard let rip at his team-mates during the break, with Lukaku firmly in his sights.
“It’s not easy playing with a man missing,” said Hazard of the Manchester United striker. “At half-time, I told him we needed him. He’d been hiding out a bit up front. But once he got in there, involved in the game, like magic, he scored two. I hope he understands that now.”
The constructive criticism had the desired effect and Belgium are now targeting a victory that will see them secure their place in the last 16 if England avoid defeat to Panama.
Tunisia, meanwhile, will be eliminated with a game still to go if they are defeated and England don’t lose.

This will be the fourth meeting between Belgium and Tunisia, with both nations winning one game and sharing one draw.
Belgium’s Dries Mertens scored the only goal the last time the two sides met in a friendly in 2014.
This is their second meeting at a World Cup – they previously drew 1-1 in the 2002 group stage.

Belgium are unbeaten in their last 10 World Cup group games and have won the previous five.
They have made it past the opening group stage in six of their last seven World Cup appearances, with the only exception coming in 1998.
They haven’t lost their second group stage game at any of their last seven World Cups.
Each of Belgium’s last 11 World Cup goals have come after half-time.
Only Jan Ceulemans (six) has scored more goals in major tournaments for Belgium than Romelu Lukaku (five, level with Marc Wilmots).
Lukaku has scored 15 goals in his last 10 internationals.

Tunisia have failed to win their last 12 World Cup games since winning their first-ever match against Mexico in 1978. It was the first match won by an African side at the World Cup.
The last team to have a longer winless run in the World Cup was South Korea (14 games between 1954 and 1998).
They have scored with their only shot on target so far at this World Cup, which was a penalty.
They are in a first World Cup since 2006, but have yet to reach the knockout stage in four previous attempts.
Tunisia have only kept one clean sheet in 13 World Cup games, 0-0 with West Germany in 1978.


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DAY 9 WORLD CUP PREVIEW/STATS/H2H: Can Nigeria Set Up A Cracker Against Argentina By Beating Iceland, Costa Rica Looking To Upset Brazil PLUS Serbia & Switzerland



Friday 22 June

Nigeria vs Iceland (Group D) – Volgograd – 3pm
Brazil vs Costa Rica (Group E) – St Petersburg – 6pm
Serbia vs Switzerland (Group E) – Kaliningrad – 9pm
Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami is receiving treatment for a muscle problem but is still likely to play.
Head coach Vladimir Petkovic could name the same side that drew 1-1 with Brazil, with Haris Seferovic continuing as a lone forward.
Serbia’s Luka Milivojevic may be available despite picking up a minor knock in the win over Costa Rica.
Head coach Mladen Krstajic is not expected to make major changes but he could hand winger Filip Kostic a start.
Serbia are the lowest ranked team in Group E but come into this game in pole position after their 1-0 win over Costa Rica, while the Swiss earned a creditable 1-1 draw with joint-favourites Brazil in their opening game.
The Brazilians were frustrated by Switzerland’s physical approach and also filed a complaint about Steven Zuber’s equaliser after he appeared to push Miranda before nodding home.
“Sometimes there’s a lack of recognition and that’s a pity because we played very well,” grumbled Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic in the aftermath of that game.
“I hope that people will take notice of us and take us seriously.”
One team that has definitely taken notice is Serbia. “We know everything about Switzerland,” stated their head coach Mladen Krstajic after their first match, which was also his first competitive game in charge of the side.
If Krstajic can mastermind a second win then the Serbs would reach the knockout stage for the first time as an independent nation.

Switzerland have never faced Serbia before.
However, Switzerland and Yugoslavia have met 13 times, with the Swiss winning six of those meetings (D5, L2).
Yugoslavia won the last time these sides met, claiming a 2-1 friendly victory in Basel in September 2001. Current Serbia head coach Mladen Krstajic scored the winner that day.
Their only previous World Cup meeting was a 3-0 group stage win for Yugoslavia in 1950.
Switzerland’s last win over Yugoslavia was a 2-0 friendly victory in October 1983.

Serbia (as Yugoslavia) have qualified for the knockout stage on three of the last four occasions when they’ve won their opening World Cup fixture.
A win for the Serbs would send them into the last 16 for the first time since 1998 (as Yugoslavia).
Their last four World Cup wins have all been 1-0.
Serbia have lost five of their last six World Cup group games, winning the other.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 14 goals in his last 17 starts for Serbia.
Branislav Ivanovic made his 104th appearance against Costa Rica and became his country’s most-capped player, surpassing the record of Dejan Stankovic (103).
Aleksandar Kolorov’s goal against Costa Rica was the first direct free-kick scored by a player from Serbia or Yugoslavia at a World Cup since Sinisa Mihajlovic scored one in a 1-0 victory over Iran in 1998.

Switzerland are on a seven-game unbeaten run (W4, D3).
They have only lost one of their last 23 games (W16, D6), a 2-0 defeat to Portugal last October.
Steven Zuber has scored four goals and registered two assists in his last six international starts.
Stephan Lichsteiner is in line to make ninth World Cup appearance in this game, which would be a Swiss national record.
Against Brazil, Valon Behrami became the first Swiss player to appear in four different World Cup finals (2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018).
Costa Rica have scored from just one of their last 31 shots at the World Cup.

Nigeria’s vice-captain Ogenyi Onazi could return to the side after being dropped for the opening defeat by Croatia.
Oghenekaro Etebo scored an own goal in that match and could make way, while Ahmed Musa is also in contention.
Iceland could be without Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who sustained a muscle injury against Argentina.
Rurik Gislason came on for Gudmundsson in that game, and may replace him in the starting line-up.
Nigeria have the youngest squad on average at this World Cup, but the biggest concern heading into a crunch game with Iceland is that age-old problems remain. While it would be convenient to blame Nigeria’s defensive frailties in the defeat by Croatia on the relative inexperience of their squad, a weakness at set-pieces has long been the Super Eagles’ Achilles heel.
Since making their World Cup debut in 1994, 14 of the 27 goals they have conceded have come from a set-piece (52%), the worst percentage of any nation during that period, including an own goal from a corner in their group opener.
Conversely, organisation is very much Iceland’s strength, as their impressive draw with Argentina demonstrated. Expertly drilled and rigidly disciplined, they frustrated the South Americans while giving up few clear-cut chances on their World Cup debut.
Worryingly for Nigeria, Iceland also looked threatening with a direct, long-ball orientated game that could cause a discombobulated defence no end of trouble. A second defeat for Nigeria, and they are out. Howevr, a win for them will set up a final group cracker with Argentina who lost yesterday to Croatia.

In their only previous meeting, Iceland triumphed 3-0 in a 1981 friendly.

All five of Nigeria’s wins at the World Cup have come against European sides.
The Super Eagles have won just one of their last 13 World Cup games (D3, L9), with that victory coming against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.
They have failed to progress from the group stage on both previous occasions they have lost their opening game.
Nigeria are currently on a World Cup losing streak of three games, their worst run since losing four matches between 1998 and 2002.
They have failed to score in six of their last 11 World Cup matches.

Iceland drew their first ever World Cup game against Argentina. The last side to avoid defeat in their opening two matches were Senegal in 2002.
Alfred Finnbogason has scored in his last three appearances for Iceland, though they’ve failed to win any of those matches (D2, L1).
After recording eight shots in the first half against Argentina, Iceland failed to register an attempt on goal in the rest of the match.
Kari Arnason won 13 aerial duels against Argentina, the most by any player in the opening round of matches.

Forward Neymar will be in Brazil’s starting XI for Friday’s Group E clash with Costa Rica despite hobbling out of a training session on Tuesday.
The Paris St-Germain forward, who broke a bone in his right foot in February, felt pain in his right ankle but took part in another session on Wednesday.
Costa Rica will look to emulate Switzerland’s efforts against Tite’s side, who had to settle for a point.
Los Ticos now face an uphill task to progress after losing 1-0 to Serbia.
Brazil began the World Cup as one of the favourites, but opened up in underwhelming fashion by drawing with Switzerland, despite going ahead through Philippe Coutinho’s wonderful, curling effort.
However, the five-time champions, appearing in their 21st consecutive tournament, will not worry about qualifying for the knockout phase just yet.
Unbeaten in their last 13 World Cup group games, winning 10 and drawing three, Brazil have topped their first-round group in every World Cup since 1982 and last failed to progress past this stage in 1966.
While Costa Rica will not have given up on progressing to the knockout stages for a second consecutive finals, manager Oscar Ramirez will need to retune his team offensively.
Penalty shootouts excluded, Costa Rica were one of only three sides to remain unbeaten in the 2014 World Cup but have toiled in front of goal at the finals, scoring just once in their last four World Cup games.
They sprung a surprise by progressing in a group consisting of Uruguay, Italy and England four years ago – but have it all to do now in Russia.

Brazil have won nine of their 10 previous internationals against Costa Rica, losing only in a friendly in March 1960.
This is the third meeting between Brazil and Costa Rica at the World Cup, with the former inflicting Costa Rica’s first-ever defeat on them at the tournament in 1990 (1-0), before a 5-2 victory in 2002

Philippe Coutinho’s goal against Switzerland was his 11th for Brazil – five of those have come from outside the box.
Brazil are winless in three World Cup matches (D1 L2), their worst run since June 1978, when they went four matches without a win.
Brazil conceded from the first shot on target they faced at the 2018 World Cup – from their last 13 shots on target faced at the World Cup, they have conceded 10 goals.
Brazil’s Neymar was fouled 10 times in their opening match against Switzerland – it was the most a player has been fouled in a World Cup match since 1998, when England striker Alan Shearer was fouled 11 times against Tunisia.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s only previous World Cup victory against South American opposition came in the 2014 tournament (3-1 vs Uruguay).
Costa Rica lost their first match against Serbia, ending a five-game unbeaten run at the World Cup finals – they haven’t lost back-to-back World Cup games since June 2006, when they lost four in a row.
Against Serbia, striker Marco Urena had just 14 touches in 67 minutes for Costa Rica, with three of those in the opposition box – his replacement, Joel Campbell, had 24 touches and four in the opposition box.


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