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Brazil earns 3-1 victory over Croatia

CCTV.com

06-13-2014 13:27 BJT

Full coverage: World Cup 2014

After the opening ceremony finished, it was time to get down to business -- as Brazil faced Croatia in the opening match of the World Cup. But it was not all a festive mood as scattered violent protests before the game were a reminder that many locals remain frustrated over the billions spent to host the tournament, but for 90 minutes in Sao Paulo it was football’s chance to shine.

Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 during the 2014 World Cup opener on Jun 12, in Sao Paolo,Brazil.Star striker Neymar stroke twice to help five-time champions Brazil rally to beat Croatia 3-1 in the World Cup opener here on Thursday.(Xinhua/Zhou Lei)

Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 during the 2014 World Cup opener on Jun 12, in Sao Paolo,Brazil.(Xinhua/Zhou Lei)

More than 60,000 spectators filled Corinthians arena as Brazil, led by Neymar, were looking to grab a win in the opener versus Croatia.

But things did not start the way the host nation would have liked -- in the 11th minute the Balkans break out on the left flank and Croatia’s Ivica Olic low cross finds its way into the net. Brazilian defender Marcelo accidentally kicking it home. The own goal means Brazil trails 1-0.

The hosts would press forward and find an equalizer before the half-hour mark. The squad’s golden boy, Neymar’s angled shot from outside the area hits the post before going into the net tying things at a goal apiece. An absolutely accurate strike from the Barcelona forward as it gets past the outstretched hand of the keeper. The superb goal means the sides head into half-time tied at 1.

In the 71st minute, Brazil are on the attack, and get a bit of a break when Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura awards the home side a penalty, a decision the Croatians absolutely do not agree with.  The replay shows Brazilian striker Fred went ot the ground quite easily with just the slightest contact from Dejan Lovren.

From there it was up to Neymar to step up from the spot -- and the youngster shows his nerves, slotting it home, despite the keeper getting a piece of it. Much to the delight of 2002 World Cup winning captain Cafu and Kaka, and the hosts go ahead 2-1.

And then in stoppage time -- Oscar seals victory for Brazil surprising the keeper with a low blast from just outside the area --- that earns the hosts three points and Brazil kick off their World Cup campaign with a 3-1 victory over Croatia.

"The match went better than I had expected. To kick off the campaign with two goals is fantastic. I tried to score in every attempt. On our second goal, I wanted to find the far corner. The ball rolled really slow but finally it went in." Brazil striker Neymar said.

"To win 3-1 is very good because our opponents are very strong. The match was hard for us, because we trailed early on. But we knew how to face the difficulties. We faced similar situations in friendly matches. Today we took our first stride. There are six matches left. We’ll fight harder as the match ahead will get tougher." Brazil defender David Luiz said.

Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 during the 2014 World Cup opener on Jun 12, in Sao Paolo,Brazil.Star striker Neymar stroke twice to help five-time champions Brazil rally to beat Croatia 3-1 in the World Cup opener here on Thursday.(Xinhua/Zhou Lei)

Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 during the 2014 World Cup opener on Jun 12, in Sao Paolo,Brazil.Star striker Neymar stroke twice to help five-time champions Brazil rally to beat Croatia 3-1 in the World Cup opener here on Thursday.(Xinhua/Zhou Lei)

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