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2014 World Cup: Neymar brace sets up Brazil win in opener

Neymar Jnr scored two goals.

Neymar Jnr scored two goals.

Neymar Junior scored a brace for Brazil as they defeated Croatia 3-1 in the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Arena de Sao Paulo on Thursday night.

The Croatians took an early lead through an own-goal from Marcelo but a long range effort from Neymar saw the two sides going into the break deadlocked at 1-1.

Neymar then handed the home side the lead from the penalty spot midway through the second half, before Oscar added a third late in the game to send his side to the top of Group A.

The Vatreni came close to breaking the deadlock in the 7th minute when Ivan Perisic’s inswinging cross found Ivica Olic at the far post, but his downward header went wide of the upright.

The opening goal did come four minutes later when Olic broke through on the left before drilling a low cross into the box; Nikica Jelavic got a faint touch onto the ball before Marcelo bundled it into his own net.

Brazil pushed forward in search of the equaliser but Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa stood his ground, blocking a solid shot from Paulinho in the 21st minute, before parrying Oscar’s curled effort a minute later.

The hosts eventually levelled matters in the 29th minute as Neymar beat a diving Pletikosa with a low shot from outside the area, which brushed the inside the post on its way to the back of the net.

The second half started at a slow pace with neither side firing shots at goal and it was only in the 67th minute that Dani Alves fired a dipping freekick just over the crossbar after Neymar had been fouled by Vedran Corluka.

Brazil were then awarded a penalty in the 71st minute as Dejan Lovren was adjudged to have pulled down Fred inside the box; Pletikosa did get a hand on Neymar’s penalty kick but could only help the ball into the net.

Luis Felipe Scolari’s side came close to extending their lead six minutes later when a cross from Oscar found David Luiz unmarked at the far post, but he was unable to get enough contact on the ball and his header sailed wide of goal.

Croatia did get the ball into the back of the net in the 83rd minute following a goalmouth scramble, but the goal was disallowed as Olic was adjudged to have fouled the Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Cesar was then called into to keep his side in the lead, diving low to his right to parry a grasscutter from Luka Modric in the 86th minute, before blocking a powerful strike from Marcelo Brozovic in the first minute of added time.

Brazil broke forward immediately and were rewarded with a third goal as Oscar outpaced two Croatian defenders before poking the ball past Pletikosa from outside the penalty area.

The win put Brazil in first place with three points, while Croatia drop to the bottom of the table with no points and a negative goal difference.

The next Group A encounter will take place on Friday night when Mexico take on Cameroon at the Estadio das Dunas in Natal.

READERS COMMENTS

  1. PeeWee says:

    That dubious penalty presented to Brazil changed the game…Croatia were robbed. Brazil is so ordinary, unless they up their game they’ll go out by the 2nd round.

  2. Plance says:

    Croatia were the better side of the two, and totally without any doubt were robbed by the referee thanks to the dubious plot by FIFA to see Brazil through! This is just the beginning, let the ROBBERY BEGIN!! First was the dive by Fred which should have being a foul awarded to Croatia and Fred given a caution or a yellow card, but as you will have it, the referee awarded a penalty to Brazil and Lovren(Croatia) shown a yellow card. Even before this, Neymar should have being shown a Red Card for unsportmanship behaviour but only walk off with just a yellow card. Still in the second half, Croatia was denied a clear goal of an equalizer by the referee for what he deem an infrigement on Julio Caezer(Brazil) when in fact, the keep funbbled with the ball and dropped it in the path of Olic who set his colleague for a well earned and fought equalizer. Final major decided of the match by the referee was his failure to award a clear infridgement to Croatia but rather played Oscar on for the third and final dubious play of an action packed 90+ 4mins of total robbery of Croatia. That not witstanding, apart from the brilliant play of Oscar who by far was my player of the match and a potential player of the tournament, Brazil as a team do not deserve to progress out of the group after a woeful and embrassing performance mud by poor officiating and robbery at its best! To me, Croatia would have being right to stage a WALK OUT!! If this is how the rest of the games will end up
    up, am afraid for the African teams and football in general not forgetting the hypocratical FAIR PLAY or SAY NO TO RACISM slogans. I rest my case. Long live Football and God bless us all!!! RESPECT

  3. simon says:

    these croatia goal keeper has to be catching fowls for ma grundmum in my village and nut balls in Brasil. TWEAAAAAAA GOAL KEEPER

  4. selfmade says:

    Who are the the HOST and who are playing infront of its fans? Host countries are difficult to beat and this is a perfect eg of what we should expect in Brazil! The team that can defeat Brazil ll bring a major football EVOLUTION DOWN!

  5. ERIC ABBAM says:

    shame to referee

  6. ERIC ABBAM says:

    shame to the referee

  7. ERIC ABBAN says:

    Brazil are beatable

  8. ERIC ABBAN says:

    we live to see, brazil paaaaa nie .hmmmmm
    . day light robbery by the japanes referees am hoping japan go through the same

    .

  9. Brazuka says:

    Plance, al ur statment was totaly true é refre robbed crotia, masa brazil wil nt reach any wer let wait n c dis jux è begin. FAKE REFREE!!

  10. anokwale says:

    Brazil got a bit lucky in this game but Croatia allowed it by not continuing to bring the pressure down the wings. The lesson from this game is that underdogs cannot hope to sit on a 1-0 lead. Keep playing!!

    • The truth says:

      Croatia outclassed Brazil. The lesson from this game is beware of the referees, make sure u score as many goals as possible. I am truly disgusted by what I saw and I hope Brazil is eliminated lose their next two games. Let’s hope Cameroon win their next two games and Brazil lose their nxt two.

  11. Nana Adwoa T. Kese says:

    hoooooooooooooo armed robbers. How can you rob the croats like that, tactically they were the better team.

  12. dondejatomolato says:

    i’m really scared for our brothers cameroun…..africa beware, the cheating has jx started

  13. dasaintshy says:

    So it took people years to realize FIFA has been handing trophies to Brazil because they are Brazil? Lots of African journalists kept saying this and nobody listened. A report cane out days before Ghana played Brazil in the 2009 under 20 in Egypt about how African teams always get a man sent off anytime they play Brazil. And in that match, Ghana ended up with 10men for 60minutes and extra time. Croatia will lucky they didn’t end up with 8men. This is FIFA, federation of international fraud association. Let’s wise up and protect our hearts. Watch the 1990 match between England and Cameroon and watch the penalties England got against Cameroon.

  14. pascal says:

    Brazil played ordinary football any country in their group who plays a bit good football can surprise them. Brazil played 12 against 11 because the ref. was playing number 12 for them. What a cheat!

  15. Charlse says:

    Support our African teams at the 2014 World Cup….

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