Spain 1 Netherlands 5. The result does not say it all, it could have been six or seven. Tiki-taka, Spain's magnificent short-passing game, is dead and buried. In group A, Mexico beat Cameroon by one goal to nil, the African side showing some good football and a solid organization. Brazil and Croatia will be alerted by Volker Finke's African heroes.
Mexico 1 Cameroon 0
O. Peralta 61
Cameroon can say that they could have come away from this match with a point, and this is backed up by the match statistics: 10 shots for Cameroon, 4 on target, against nine shots from Mexico, 5 on. Cameroon had five corners to the Aztecs' two. Mexico, however, had two goals ruled out before Cameroon had a chance right at the end of the game when Ochoa somehow managed to save Benjamin Moukandjo's header in the top left corner of the goal.
Ochoa, F. Rodriguez, Marquez (Capt), Herrera (Salcido), Layun, Dos Santos, Moreno, Guardado (Fabian), O. Peralta (Hernandez), Aguilar, Vazquez
Coach: Miguel HERRERA
Yellow card: Moreno
Itanjde, Assou Eketto, Nkoulou, Djeugoue (Mounkeu), Song (Webo), Moukandjo, Eto'o (Capt), Choupo-Moting, Chedjou, Mbia, Enoh
Coach: Volker FINKE
Yellow card: Nounkeu
Ball possession: Mexico 62% Cameroon 38%
Shots/on target: Mexico 9/5 Cameroon 10/4
Corners Mexico 2 Cameroon 5
Fouls committed Mexico 11 Cameroon 12
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
Mexico 1 0 0 1 0 +1 3
Cameroon 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
Croatia 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0
Brazil: Neymar (2) Oscar 1
Own goals: Marcelo 1 Brazil (for Croatia)
Australia Chile Netherlands Spain
Spain 1 Netherlands 5
Xavi Alonso Van Persie 44, 72; Robben 53, 80; de Vrij 64
The Netherlands has the first candidate for the goal of the tournament: Van Persie's equalizing header from the middle of the area, following an inch-perfect pass from the left (Daley Blind). Spain had edged ahead, through a penalty (Xabi Alonso) after Diego Costa was brought down in the area by de Vrij, after a wonderful move from Iniesta, David Silva and Xavi Alonso.
After the break, an avalanche buried Spain and their tiki-taka short-passing game (Brazil had already shown how to play against this system in the Confederations Cup, which they won 3-0. The answer is the application of the WM formation, massing the midfield).
The second Dutch goal came on 52'. Arjen Robben shot past Casillas in the centre of the area (assist from Daley Blind) after holding the ball, skipping past two defenders and finding a shooting position. Goal 3 came after a foul by Robben on Casillas and shines a light on what the media has started calling bad refereeing (dubiously, because Brazil's penalty was legitimate, and Cameroon gave Mexico a scare). De Vrij converted the goal from a set piece.
After this, Spain pressed and the Netherlands acted like poisoned arrows in a classic counter-attack game. On 72', Casillas went out of his goal to counter Van Persie, who controlled the ball, skipped past the fallen keeper and rifled the shot between two desperate Spanish defenders. Spain's miserable night was compounded on 80', when Arjen Robben fired his shot past Casillas' left hand into the right-hand corner of the goal, after a perfect assist from Wesley Sneijder.
Casillas, Azpilicueta, Alba, Alonso (Pedro), Piqué, Ramos, Silva (Fabregas), Busquets, Diego Costa (Torres), Xavi, Iniesta
Coach: Vicente DEL BOSQUE
Yellow card: Casillas
Cillessen, Janmaat, Blind, Martins Indi, Vlaar, de Vrij (Veltman), de Guzman (Wijnaldum), de Jong, Sneijder, van Persie (Lens) Robben
Coach: Louis VAN GAAL
Yellow cards: De Vrij, de Guzman, Van Persie
Ball possession: Spain 64% Netherlands 36%
Shots/on target: Spain 10/4; Netherlands 14/10
Corners: Spain 4 Netherlands 1
Fouls committed: Spain 5 Netherlands 18
Netherlands 1 00 5 1 +4 3
Spain 0 0 1 1 5 -4 0
Spain: Xabi Alonso
Netherlands: Van Persie (2), Robben (2), de Vrij
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