World Cup - Group A
Brazil3Croatia1

World Cup: Brazil 3-1 Croatia

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Highlights: Brazil 3-1 Croatia

Story of the match:

  • Neymar scores twice for hosts
  • Croatia angry at penalty decision
  • Oscar also on target for Brazil
  • Vanishing spray used for first time

Neymar stole the show as Brazil came from behind to open the World Cup with a victory over Croatia in Sao Paulo, but the match turned on a controversial penalty.

The striker responded to the responsibility of being his country's poster boy by finding the net either side of half-time after Marcelo had scored an early own goal.

Oscar cemented the result with a wonderful individual goal late on but the adulation at the Arena de Sao Paulo went to Barcelona's Neymar.

His first goal was a low, sweeping effort that crept into the net from 25 yards. His second, 19 minutes before the end, was altogether more controversial.

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Watch Neymar's long-range equaliser for Brazil against Croatia

Dejan Lovren was judged to have fouled Fred in the box. Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura pointed to the spot, despite replays showing little contact had been made. Neymar converted, the ball deflecting in off the out-stretched arm of goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, to spark scenes of celebration.

It ensured a 10th consecutive win for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side but Brazil demonstrated flaws and fragilities. They did not play with the fluency or flamboyance that saw them swat aside Spain to win the Confederations Cup so emphatically last year.

The moments before kick-off had been typically rousing. A passionate Brazilian crowd delivered another fervent rendition of the national anthem. Croatia were no more than an afterthought to most outside the thousand travelling fans.

Neymar has scored six goals in his last four appearances for Brazil.

That soon changed. From the off, Ivica Olic worked tirelessly, chasing lost causes, committing Brazilian defenders. He might have scored after seven minutes only to head Ivan Perisic's right-wing cross narrowly wide at the back post.

Four minutes later he was at the heart of the move that stunned the home crowd into silence.

With Dani Alves committed upfield, Olic found space wide on the left. His low, teasing cross found Nikica Jelavic who made glancing contact. It was enough to catch Marcelo off balance. The Real Madrid defender watched on as the ball deflected off his ankle and rolled into the net beyond goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Brazil were struggling for rhythm; insipid not inventive. Neymar was fortunate to escape a nasty first-half incident - when he caught Luka Modric in the face with a swinging forearm - with only a booking.

But when they needed a moment of magic, the man whose image had been splashed across every newspaper and TV station in Brazil provided it.

Chelsea midfielder Oscar fought through two challenges and found Neymar.

When the striker turned for goal, moving the ball on to his left foot, he had one thing in mind. The contact was not pure but the shot was unerringly accurate, creeping in from 25 yards, glancing the right post on its way.

On the touchline Scolari was swamped by his players as all 23 Brazilian squad members rejoiced in the overwhelming sense of relief. Fireworks echoed in the streets around the ground.

Croatia, though, were far from finished. Dejan Lovren provided solidity and strength in defence; Ivan Rakitic, the spark and substance in midfield.

For long periods, Brazil struggled to find the zip in their passing, or the vim and vigour in their movement, to elude markers and dismantle Croatia's effective and organised defensive system.

Dani Alves curled a dipping free-kick just over but that was the sum of Brazil's second-half efforts as the final 30 minutes approached. That was to change.

Oscar put a gloss on the final score with a tremendous late goal that his man-of-the-match performance warranted. With Croatia committed upfield, he burst forward and toe-poked in from 25 yards, taking Pletikosa by surprise with a low drive.

Brazil are off and running.

Croatia take a surprise lead as Marcelo scores past his own goalkeeper.
Neymar is shown the yellow card after catching Luka Modric with a swinging forearm before scoring moments afterwards.
Neymar celebrates scoring against Croatia, his two goals taking his tally for his country to 33 in 50 appearances.
Croatia players react with fury after referee Yuichi Nishimura awards Brazil a controversial penalty with the game 1-1.
Brazil players congratulate Oscar after he scores Brazil's third

Line-ups

Brazil

  • 12Julio César
  • 2Dani Alves
  • 6Marcelo
  • 17Luiz GustavoBooked at 87mins
  • 3Thiago Silva
  • 4David Luiz
  • 11Oscar
  • 8PaulinhoSubstituted forHernanesat 63'minutes
  • 9Fred
  • 10NeymarBooked at 27minsSubstituted forRamiresat 88'minutes
  • 7HulkSubstituted forBernardat 68'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Jefferson
  • 5Fernandinho
  • 13Dante
  • 14Maxwell
  • 15Henrique
  • 16Ramires
  • 18Hernanes
  • 19Willian
  • 20Bernard
  • 21
  • 22Victor
  • 23Maicon

Croatia

  • 1Pletikosa
  • 11Srna
  • 2Vrsaljko
  • 7Rakitic
  • 5CorlukaBooked at 65mins
  • 6LovrenBooked at 69mins
  • 4Perisic
  • 10Modric
  • 9JelavicSubstituted forRebicat 78'minutes
  • 20KovacicSubstituted forBrozovicat 61'minutes
  • 18Olic

Substitutes

  • 3Pranjic
  • 8Vukojevic
  • 12Zelenika
  • 13Schildenfeld
  • 14Brozovic
  • 15Badelj
  • 16Rebic
  • 19Cruz Campos
  • 21Vida
  • 22Eduardo
  • 23Subasic
Referee:
Yuichi Nishimura
Attendance:
62,103

Match Stats

Home TeamBrazilAway TeamCroatia
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home14
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home5
Away20

Live Text

Match ends, Brazil 3, Croatia 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Brazil 3, Croatia 1.
Attempt missed. Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Luka Modric.

Goal!

Goal! Brazil 3, Croatia 1. Oscar (Brazil) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ramires.
Attempt blocked. Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Luka Modric.
Attempt missed. Vedran Corluka (Croatia) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Luka Modric with a cross following a set piece situation.

Substitution

Substitution, Brazil. Ramires replaces Neymar.

Booking

Luiz Gustavo (Brazil) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Luiz Gustavo (Brazil).
Luka Modric (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Luiz Gustavo (Brazil) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ante Rebic (Croatia).
Attempt saved. Luka Modric (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marcelo Brozovic.
Hernanes (Brazil) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dejan Lovren (Croatia).
Corner, Croatia. Conceded by Dani Alves.
Corner, Brazil. Conceded by Darijo Srna.

Substitution

Substitution, Croatia. Ante Rebic replaces Nikica Jelavic.
Attempt missed. David Luiz (Brazil) header from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Oscar with a cross.
Corner, Brazil. Conceded by Darijo Srna.
Foul by Oscar (Brazil).
Sime Vrsaljko (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Dejan Lovren (Croatia) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.
Corner, Croatia. Conceded by David Luiz.

Goal!

Goal! Brazil 2, Croatia 1. Neymar (Brazil) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

Booking

Dejan Lovren (Croatia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Penalty Brazil. Fred draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Dejan Lovren (Croatia) after a foul in the penalty area.
Oscar (Brazil) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ivica Olic (Croatia).

Substitution

Substitution, Brazil. Bernard replaces Hulk.
Attempt missed. Dani Alves (Brazil) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Booking

Vedran Corluka (Croatia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Neymar (Brazil) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Vedran Corluka (Croatia).
Marcelo (Brazil) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia).
Thiago Silva (Brazil) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nikica Jelavic (Croatia).

Substitution

Substitution, Brazil. Hernanes replaces Paulinho.
Foul by Luiz Gustavo (Brazil).
Darijo Srna (Croatia) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Croatia. Marcelo Brozovic replaces Mateo Kovacic.
Marcelo (Brazil) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Darijo Srna (Croatia).
Marcelo (Brazil) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ivan Perisic (Croatia).
Attempt missed. Ivan Perisic (Croatia) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Luka Modric.
Oscar (Brazil) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sime Vrsaljko (Croatia).
Hand ball by Ivica Olic (Croatia).
Foul by Paulinho (Brazil).
Dejan Lovren (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Oscar (Brazil) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Sime Vrsaljko (Croatia).

Second Half

Second Half begins Brazil 1, Croatia 1.

Half Time

First Half ends, Brazil 1, Croatia 1.
Luiz Gustavo (Brazil) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Nikica Jelavic (Croatia).
Attempt missed. Hulk (Brazil) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left.
goal

As It Stood

A

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1Brazil110023
2Cameroon000000
3Mexico000000
4Croatia1001-20

B

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Australia000000
2Chile000000
3Netherlands000000
4Spain000000

C

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Colombia000000
2Ivory Coast000000
3Greece000000
4Japan000000

D

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Costa Rica000000
2England000000
3Italy000000
4Uruguay000000

E

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Ecuador000000
2France000000
3Honduras000000
4Switzerland000000

F

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Argentina000000
2Bos-Herze000000
3Iran000000
4Nigeria000000

G

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Germany000000
2Ghana000000
3Portugal000000
4USA000000

H

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Algeria000000
2Belgium000000
3Russia000000
4South Korea000000
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