Despite all the criticism, despite all the scare stories, despite all the demonstrations, the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicked off today in São Paulo's Arena Corinthians Stadium with President Dilma Roussef looking on. The result was a perfect mirror of the game, with Brazil attacking more and showing more brilliance, yet Croatia was far from an onlooker.
Brazil 3 Croatia 1
Neymar 29 Marcelo (own goal, o.g. 11)
Neymar 71 (pen)
Hrvatska! This was the first roar the Arena Corinthians Stadium heard this evening as the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicked off with the Group A game between hosts Brazil and Croatia, when after ten minutes Marcelo poked a loose ball into his own net, the sequence of a Croatia counter-attack from Brazil's first corner of five on nine minutes.
Brazil kept pressing, despite the setback and after 29 minutes, the amazing Neymar equalized, three minutes after getting a yellow card for elbowing. His left-footed shot rebounded off the woodwork, leaving Croatia's solid keeper, Pletikosa, beaten.
In the second half, Neymar (penalty) and Oscar added two more goals for Brazil on 71 and 90 minutes, the last coming seconds after Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar made a crucial save.
Croatia will certainly prove a difficult opponent for Cameroon and Mexico in the same group but can hardly complain about this result, such was the dominance of Brazil's attacking display.
Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, T. Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Hulk (Bernard), Paulinho (Hernanes), Fred, Neymar (Ramires), Oscar, L. Gustavo
Coach: Luiz Felipe SCOLARI
Yellow cards: Neymar, L. Gustavo
Pletikosa, Vrsaljko, Perisic, Corluka, Lovren, Rakitic, Jelavic (Rebic), Modric, Srna, Olic, Kovacic (Brozovic)
Coach: Niko KOVAC
Yellow cards: Corluka, Lovren
Ball possession: Brazil 61% Croatia 39%
Shots/on target: Brazil 14/6 Croatia 11/3
Corners Brazil 7 Croatia 3
Fouls committed Brazil 5 Croatia 20
Country Played Won Drawn Lost Goals for Goals against Goal difference Points
Brazil Cameroon Croatia Mexico
Brazil 1 1 0 0 3 1 + 2 3
Croatia 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0
Goal scorers Neymar (2) Brazil Oscar 1 Brazil
Own goals Marcelo 1 Brazil
Australia Chile Netherlands Spain
Colombia Greece Ivory Coast Japan
Costa Rica England Italy Uruguay
Ecuador France Honduras Switzerland
Argentina Bosnia-Herzegovina Iran Nigeria
Germany Ghana Portugal USA
Algeria Belgium Rep. Korea Russia