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Will Neymar follow Modric’s lead?

2018-06-22 13:40
Source: Supplied

Croatia hit 3 yesterday, and now the world turns to Neymar to see whether he can echo Modric’s genius in the game against Costa Rica at 2pm SA time today.

Enter Neymar

Modric is an old-school playmaker, while Neymar’s characteristics are those of a number 10 of the PlayStation generation. Quick, sharp, nimble, skillful, Neymar is Brazil’s talisman in 2018, just as he was in 2014. Ahead of the clash with Costa Rica on Friday, Brazil’s coach Tite denied that his side is overly dependent on the PSG striker. Yet a knock in training does seem to be a cause for some concern despite Tite having Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus to call upon. Neymar, though, will be eager to redress the disappointment of 2014 and also avoid Argentina’s fate. Like their South American foes, Brazil drew their opening match, and must beat Costa Rica to kindle their title bid. With Argentina’s near elimination following an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Croatia, it seems that this won’t be Lionel Messi’s World Cup, and Friday will provide evidence on whether it may be Neymar’s.

Argentina body language said it all

From kickoff it was obvious that Argentina’s coach Jorge Sampaoli was a worried man. By the time Croatia’s Ante Rebic had scored a sensational volley by capitalising on Argentina goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s amateurish error, Sampaoli was effectively having a nervous breakdown on live TV. And for good reason, because his decision to play 3-4-1-2 was disastrous. Messi and Sergio Aguero were adrift up front, the midfield bereft of ideas, and his defence jittery at best. Aguero cut a dejected figure after his substitution, Diego Maradona was in tears at the final whistle and Messi was crestfallen. Modric’s smile, meanwhile, seemed to stretch from Nizhny Novgorod to Zagreb, a contrast as powerful as Messi losing his temper soon after Modric had scored one of the goals of the tournament.

How good are Croatia?

Modric’s genius is well documented, and midfielder Ivan Rakitic was equally impressive, albeit in a more robust way. Mario Mandzukic is a quality targetman and Dejan Lovren and company have a wealth of experience at the highest level. Croatia are almost certain to top Group D, which is a key milestone, because whichever team finishes second is likely to face a dangerous France outfit in the last 16. On current form, Croatia look like a quarter-final team at worst.

It’s Neymar’s time to shine, so watch his Brazil side take on Costa Rica at 2pm today by streaming the match on SuperSport on DStv Now on your mobile or your laptop if you’re not at home. (If you miss it live, watch eight-minute highlights on Catch Up, where you can also see the key moments of Croatia’s magnificent 3-0 win over Argentina.)

How to set up DStv Now and stream all matches on the go

Watch from wherever you are on your smartphone, laptop, tablet or desktop on SuperSport through DStv Now.

How to get the DStv Now app

1. Download the DStv Now app from the Google Play or Apple App Store.

2. Launch the app and login to your DStv account with your Connect ID.

3. Link your smartcard to your DStv Now account

How to watch the World Cup with DStv Now

1. Launch DStv Now.

2. Go to the Menu then navigate to Live TV > Sport. All the FIFA World Cup matches can be found on SuperSport channels.

3. Start watching!

Channels on DStv Now depend on your DStv subscription - not all channels are available to all subscribers. Start watching now »

NEXT ON SPORT24X

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2018-06-29 11:52

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