Brazil score, Argentina trip

Brazil score, Argentina trip

Brazil's Neymar celebrates scoring their second goal. REUTERS

Five-time champions Brazil raised their game at the right time to post their first win of the World Cup while fellow South Americans Argentina stared at exit signs after losing to Croatia.

Brazil, under pressure after their 1-1 draw with Switzerland in their opening Group E game, were frustrated by Costa Rica for long periods before goals from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar late in the game saw them through with a 2-0 victory on Friday.

Brazil created a handful of chances in the second half but the Costa Ricans, with goalkeeper Keylor Navas putting in a spirited performance, kept them at bay. But the pressure finally told in the dying minutes and the Brazilian fans worldwide heaved a sigh of relief.

A struggling Argentina had only pain in store on Thursday night as they stumbled to a 0-3 loss against Croatia in Group D. The two-time champions, who had drawn 1-1 with Iceland in their first match, need to win their last match against Nigeria and hope that Iceland either draw or lose against Croatia if they are to progress.

Superstar Lionel Messi and his team-mates put in a disjointed performance against a supremely motivated Croatian team who clinched their last-16 berth with their second victory.