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Brazil 3-1 Croatia – Host Win in Match Shrouded in Controversy: Match Highlights [VIDEO]

WC OC Brazil 3 1 Croatia   Host Win in Match Shrouded in Controversy: Match Highlights [VIDEO]

Brazil opened the World Cup with an uneven 3-1 win over a stubborn Croatia in Sao Paulo thanks to two goals from Neymar.

Brazil’s talisman opened his account for the tournament with a long range effort to level the scores after Marcelo had put through his own goal to give Croatia a shock lead at the Arena de São Paulo.

Neymar added his second from the penalty spot after Dejan Lovren had been judged to have tripped Fred, before Oscar capped victory for the hosts with a late third.

The hosts took to the field in buoyant form in front of their home fans but the emotions on display as the 61,000 capacity crowd roared through the national anthem where tempered when Croatia made the brighter start, Ivica Olic heading wide from Ivan Perisic’s cross inside ten minutes.

Luis Felipe Scolari’s men failed to heed the warning posed by Croatia’s threat out wide, and they were made to pay when Olic’s cross was glanced on by Nikica Jelavic and Marcelo turned the ball past a stranded Julio Cesar to put the underdogs in front.

That shocked the hosts into life with Oscar crossing dangerously for Neymar whose far-post lunge narrowly failed to connect, but it was the Chelsea forward’s clever through-ball for Paulinho that marked the game’s first real moment of magic, with Stipe Pletikosa reacting well in the Croatia goal to beat the ball away.

The reprieve came for the hosts when midfield lynchpin Luis Gustavo, so often the key figure as Scolari has changed the fortunes of the Seleceao in the build up to the Copa des Copas, won the ball on the halfway line as Modric hesitated and fed Neymar, whose speculative drive beat Pletikosa and spun in off the post.

Neymar could be considered lucky to have remained on the pitch after landing a stray arm in the face of Modric moments earlier, just minutes after Jelavic had planted a tame header into the arms of Julio Cesar as Croatia threatened a second.

In the second half Croatia boss Niko Kovac withdrew the ineffective Mateo Kovacic and introduced Marcelo Brozovic in a bid to match up to Brazil’s physicality in midfield, but it was winger Perisic who looked to turn the tide of the game with a series of powerful runs from the right wing.

Perisic was the outstanding figure for Croatia as Modric and the much-fancied Ivan Rakitic were bullied into submission by the imperious Luis Gustavo, but it was centre-half Lovren who grabbed the headlines as his challenge on Fred was harshly judged to have warranted a penalty.

Neymar dispatched the kick to give the hosts the lead for the first time, and there was still time for Perisic to have a goal disallowed for an Olic challenge on the Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar before Oscar broke from midfield to finish off Kovac’s side and send the home fans into delirium.

Croatia had applied lots of pressure towards the later stages of the match and could feel hard done by the the penalty and the soft call against Olic. Nonetheless, the hosts collect all three points and now have a firm grip atop Group A.

Watch the official match highlights below -

This entry was posted in Brazil, Croatia, World Cup, World Cup 2014. Bookmark the permalink.

About Robert O'Connor

Robert lives and works in London, and largely follows football from the safe distance of the living room. Has been recently taking a growing interest in the semi-professional game as a perfect foil for his interests in the growing influence of digital media on football.
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10 Responses to Brazil 3-1 Croatia – Host Win in Match Shrouded in Controversy: Match Highlights [VIDEO]

  1. jtm371 says:

    Watching the highlights either the Ref was on the take or the Croatian keeper was on the take.fifa should be proud of that clown of a ref what a joke. just put Brazil thru to the final.

    • Colin says:

      The media spin on that match makes me want to puke! People should realise that more money is bet on those games over the whole world than any other event. If boycotted, Brazil can have the cup as they made it worthless in that stadium. Trillions will be spent on this world cup and Croatia were robbed!

      • Colin says:

        But who is really getting paid? And for what? We saw the beginnng what else do people really expect to see?

  2. Croatian goalkeeper’s reaction time was glacial at best. Terrible stuff from him.

    I don’t think Neymar’s arm was a red card offence, but Kaka was sent off for far less than that in a World Cup.

    David Luiz was equal parts excellent and a PK/red card waiting to happen. If Brazil fail, it will be because of something “sensational” he did,

    That penalty? The final piece of irrefutable proof that this ref was overwhelmed by the occasion. World Cup refs should be sequestered the year before and given games in each federation for the 12 months in advance. That way they can get some experience that might actually help them cope from something a little quicker of pave than the J-League relegation battle.

    SB

  3. James says:

    I thought Oscar was MOTM by far

  4. Ivan says:

    James: the referee was MOTM, by far.

    He single-handedly destroyed a close game, hanging in the balance with 20 minutes to go.

    Watch FIFA give this mistake of nature a couple of more games to referee in the tournament. He’s already done his job so it’s all good.

  5. Colin says:

    The rest of the teams after seeing that shouldnt play so brazil and all the under handed corrupt guy make no money!

    Boycot the world cup then we will see chans that game was a farce Croatia won that game!

    I think riots will be very bad there. And soon too just hope kids are kept away from it all. The magic is gone thanks to the people behind the rigged game!

  6. Colin says:

    I expect the rest of the “Event” to be a total sham!!

  7. StellaWasAlwaysDown says:

    Horrible penalty, but I’m not surprised. Brazil is the host and a powerhouse. They didn’t want riots to start off the WC if they would have lost. Croatia played them the whole match, and should have come away with a point.

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