The 2014 World Cup started with a rather drab opening ceremony while FIFA’s leadership is involved in a public spat over who should or shouldn’t be president going forward and Brazil’s infrastructure is partly unfinished and the demonstrators protest the event outside the stadiums.
All these things aside, the home team managed to get off to a winning start!
Croatia took the lead early as early as the 10th minute with some good play that had the Brazil defenders racing towards their own goal. A neat low cross took a slight deflection before striking Marcelo who could do no more than watch as the ball hit the back of the net.
Neymay scored Brazil’s first goal, a superb low drive after Oscar had battled near half-way and played the 22 year old striker into space.
His second came from the penalty spot after the Japanese (wtf!) official, Yuichi Nishimura, gave a penalty for what looked like a “tug on Fred” by Liverpool target, Dejan Lovren. Players these day are so aware of the whitewash and know that collapsing as if shot often leads to the fortunate awarding of a spot kick.
“That is shameful, this is not a World Cup referee. He had one kind of criteria for them and another for us. The rules were not the same,” Kovac said.
Unfortunately, what’s done is done. Possibly the best comment about the official would be “out of his depth” since fair or unbiased are not appropriate.
Oscar again shone as he finished off Croatia with a toe-poke that beat the hapless keeper, Stipe Pletikosa, on his near post.
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho (Hernanes, 63), Oscar, Neymar (Ramires, 88), Hulk (Bernard, 68), Fred.
Croatia: Stipe Pletikosa, Sime Vrsaljko, Darijo Srna, Dejan Lovren, Vedran Corluka, Ivan Rakitic, Nikica Jelavic (Ante Rebic, 78), Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Ivica Olic, Mateo Kovacic (Marcelo Brozovic, 61).
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