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Brazil Defeats Croatia in World Cup Opener

Brazil
Neymar scored 2 goals to lead Brazil to a 3-1 victory over Croatia in the 2014 World Cup opener. (Courtesy image)

Host nation Brazil defeated Croatia, 3-1, in the 2014 FIFA World Cup opener in Sao Paulo on June 12.

The Brazilian national team benefited from two goals by soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, who found the back of the net in the 29th and 71st minutes. Neymar’s second goal was the game winner, though it was his first score that was the equalizer.

Croatia took a 1-0 lead on an own-goal in the 11th minute and held the advantage for about 18 minutes before Neymar’s first goal.

Midfielder Oscar Dos Santos scored Brazil’s third goal in the match’s final moments to seal the victory for the host nation.

Brazil dominated Croatia in just about every major statistical category, including shots (14 to 10), shots on goal (9 to 4), and corner kicks (7 to 3). The Brazilians had the ball for about 59 percent of the match, while the Croatians were tagged with 21 fouls. Brazil only had five fouls. Both teams were docked with two yellow cards, including one issued to Neymar in the 27th minute – a few moments before his equalizing goal.

Thursday’s match was played at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo. Both Brazil and Croatia are in Group A.

The Brazil-Croatia match was the only one scheduled for Thursday. Matches pick up in full swing on June 13.

Friday will feature a triple header, including Mexico and Cameroon (Group A) at 9 a.m., followed by Spain and Netherlands (Group B) at 12 noon. Chile and Australia (Group B) round out the Day 2 schedule with first kick at 3 p.m.

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