Host nation comes from behind to beat Croatia at start of 2014 World Cup.
With much difficulty and controversy, Brazil started its march towards its sixth world title with an unconvincing win over Croatia 3-1 in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup.
In front of 61,000 fans at the São Paulo Corinthians arena, the host team conceded a shocking goal after 11 minutes when Brazilian defender Marcelo diverted Croatia’s Olic cross into his net, recording a first historic World Cup opening own-goal.
In the 29th minute, Brazilian World Cup prodigy Neymar dribbled his way through the field, resting his shot in Croatia’s Pletikosa’s net, marking Brazil’s equaliser.
Upon the start of the second half, Croatia carried out its previous half-playing tactics, relying on a zone defence and arranging counter attacks to beat the unsteady Brazilian defenders.
Brazil managed to counter Croatia`s tactics by playing openly on the wings, which enabled Neymar to shoot a controversial penalty kick, which he struck in the right corner of the net, putting the samba dancers out in force in the 71st minute.
The final minutes of the game witnessed courageous offensive attempts by the hosts. The Japanese referee canceled a goal for the guests, claiming a foul on Croatia’s Olic for colliding with Brazil`s keeper Cesar in the 90th minute.
Saving Brazil from a frustrating start, Chelsea`s strike Oscar scored the third goal for the hosts after pulling off a magnificent counter attack before netting the ball and recording a 3-1 opening victory for the title hopefuls.