Football

Brazil counting on Costa in Neymar's absence

Without Neymar, Brazil may be forgiven for feeling out of their element as they prepare to face hosts Russia in their penultimate World Cup warm-up today at the Luzhniki Stadium.

But coach Tite is looking ahead and views Juventus' Douglas Costa as the ideal replacement.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar "is a different player".

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"He is one of the top three in the world," said Tite.

"But a strong team should not depend on specific names."

Without Neymar, Tite is entrusting the left wing to the in-form Costa, who is on loan to the Turin giants from Bayern Munich. The 27-year-old is in the prime of his career after spending much of it tucked away in Ukraine playing for Shakhtar Donetsk.

Costa has found the net only three times in 22 appearances in a yellow jersey, but this is his time to shine and he does not seem phased by the occasion.

Costa will be paired up front with Chelsea's graceful winger Willian and Gabriel Jesus, who has scored 11 times for Manchester City this season. - AFP

Football