December 17, 2017
Thursday, June 12, 2014

Neymar, Oscar give Brazil nervy World Cup win over Croatia

Croatia supporters gesture and shout slogans a bar in downtown Zagreb on June 12, 2014, prior to watching the opening football match between Brazil and Croatia of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, played in Sao Paulo.
Brazil's golden boy Neymar hit twice and Oscar sealed the match with a late strike to give the Selecao a 3-1 victory in their World Cup Group A opener against Croatia, who had led the game early on thanks to Marcelo's own goal.

The Real Madrid full-back suffered the indignity of putting through his own net in the Corinthians Arena, Sao Paulo, when he scuffed the clearance of an innocuous ball across the box, giving his side a mountain to climb in order to take three points from the clash.

But No. 10 Neymar steered his team's comeback, cancelling out that first strike with a low effort that nestled in the corner of the net. When Fred was pulled down for a contentious second-half penalty, the Barcelona man stepped up from the spot to add his second and put his team in the lead.

Croatia pushed hard for the draw, and had a goal disallowed when referee Yuichu Nishimura judged that goalkeeper Julio Cesar had been fouled before Ivan Perisic found the net. With just minutes to play, a counter from the hosts was finished by Oscar, firing low to elude the grasp of Stipe Pletikosa.

Despite the result, Brazil will know that they will have to improve on what was a stilted, nervy display if they are to live up to their favourites tag and take a sixth World Cup title.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's team dominated control of the ball, but found it difficult to penetrate a resolute Croatia team, with only Neymar making an impact on the opposition defence. The Balkan side, meanwhile, attacked well on the counter and made life uncomfortable for the hosts in an unexpectedly tough start to their World Cup campaign.

Mexico and Cameroon will complete Group A's first round of games tomorrow, when they meet at 5pm in Natal's Arena das Dunas stadium. 
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Tags:  Brazil  World Cup  Croatia  

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