Fears that Brazil may not qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup were eased after injury-time goals from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar earned the five-time champions a 2-0 win against Costa Rica.
An ordinary Brazil seemed on course for a second successive draw, which would have made for an especially nervy final group match against Serbia on June 27, but in the 91st minute Coutinho stabbed home against tiring opponents and Neymar added gloss to the scoreline in the 97th minute.
It was stirring finale and a victory which puts Brazil top of Group E with four points, though the South Americans may be usurped by Serbia who play Switzerland later on Friday. A draw against Serbia could be enough to put Brazil through to the last 16.
The magnitude of the result was evident in Tite’s celebrations the Brazil coach jolted out of the dugout and giddily fell onto the pitch when Coutinho put his team ahead while after the final whistle Neymar could be seen on his knees sobbing.
Neymar’s first goal of the tournament, scored seconds before the final whistle, moves the Paris Saint-Germain star above Romario into third on Brazil’s all-time scoring list with 56 goals in 87 internationals. Only Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77) are above him in the exalted record books.