Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho is Hero of the Day with match-winning display for Brazil

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Coutinho was the hero of the day at the World Cup.

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Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho had lit up Brazil’s opening game of the World Cup with a spectacular goal in their 1-1 draw against Switzerland, but he went one better on Friday.

A measured, all-action performance from midfield that included Brazil’s vital first goal in injury time saw the former Liverpool attacker lead his side to a 2-0 victory against Costa Rica.

Here’s a closer look at Coutinho’s performance.

KEY STATS

23 06 hero of day Coutinho(1)

30-SECOND REPORT

While he was unable to provide as spectacular an intervention as he did in Brazil’s opener, this was arguably a better performance from Coutinho. He was more influential, getting on the ball more often and looking more incisive with his passing.

He did keep attempting to score a wonder-strike, but he mixed that up with some clever movement, drifting wide or coming into the box to add more pressure. Ultimately, that’s what led to his vital winner.

GOT RIGHT

Passing – Coutinho’s ability to unlock a defence is one of his underrated qualities – if only because his shooting steals the headlines. Costa Rica’s defence made it next to impossible for Brazil to find space behind their back-line, but Coutinho kept trying, and kept putting his team-mates in dangerous positions.

Movement – The Barcelona star’s movement was sublime, as he kept finding space between the lines, or popping up on the wings, and getting into the box. It was a late run into the area that led to Brazil’s opener.

GOT WRONG 

Shots to nothing – No doubt buoyed by his thunder-strike in the first game of the tournament, Coutinho kept trying to produce an encore. On Friday, however, most of his efforts were tame – and, on occasion, ill-advised. It’s fair to have the confidence to continue going for the spectacular, but there were times he could have kept patient and looked for a better option than a long-range shot. Given the talent around him, opting not to shoot would have been better-advised on occasion.

VERDICT

This was a controlled, measured performance from Coutinho, who is quickly becoming Brazil’s go-to man – or at the very least, option 1A after Neymar. Although his attempts to produce the spectacular fell short, he offered so much more on Friday, marrying incisive passing with sublime movement to run the show for Brazil.

His run into the box to finish off one of Brazil’s best moves of the match was that of a trademark attacking midfielder. This was a complete performance from Coutinho.

RATING – 8/10

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Belgium and Tunisia will clash in their second group stage game of World Cup 2018 on Saturday.

While a brace from Romelu Lukaku and a goal from Dries Mertens handed Roberto Martinez’s team three points in their first game, Tunisia were unfortunate to concede a late goal against England as they lost 2-1 to Gareth Southgate‘s side.

And while Belgium will be favourites to win against Tunisia, Nabil Maaloul’s men will not make it easy for them.

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Brazil fans revel in Argentina's misery.

Brazil fans are still waiting for their team to really take off at the World Cup, but until then, there are always other reasons to celebrate…such as your biggest rivals losing.

After Argentina suffered a shock 3-0 loss to Croatia on Thursday, Brazil fans were seen celebrating into the night in St Petersburg, including mocking Argentina talisman Lionel Messi by changing the lyrics of the famous resistance song “Bella Ciao” to “Messi Ciao”.

It no doubt gave Brazilians some measure of a feeling of revenge, after Argentina fans celebrated Brazil’s stunning 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals at the previous tournament – on Brazilian soil, no less.

Argentina staring at the possibility of crashing out in the group stages in Russia after Thursday’s result.

Watch the Brazil fans’ celebrations in our video below.

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