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Brazil v Croatia: Match review and ratings

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Brazil got off to a winning start in their home tournament, as both Neymar and Oscar provided key performances in a hard-thought 3-1 win over Group A rivals Croatia.

The game wasn't as comprehensive as it appears on the scoreline for the Seleção however, as it was in fact the Europeans who headed into an early lead in just the 11th minute thanks to a comical own-goal from defender Marcelo.

Croatia capitalized on mistakes from the host nation in the early stages, as a comfortable Olic cross was inadvertently converted at the fast post by a forlorn looking Marcelo. Croatia had threatened in the early stages with Olic previously firing narrowly wide with a free header.

From there on out, Brazil upped the intensity and star men Neymar and Oscar stepped up to the plate and started unraveling the competent Croats. Oscar first went close with a testing 30 yard curler, before Neymar fired low from twenty yards after initial good work from teammate Oscar.

It took a good 40 minutes before Brazil scored what would turn out to be the decisive - yet controversial - winning penalty. The five-time World Cup winners were awarded a penalty after Fred was adjudged to have been fouled by Southampton man Dejan Lovren and Neymar unconvincingly converted the penalty.

Croatia manager Niko Kovac's verdict on the altercation was one of frustration and disgust remarking "If that's how we start the World Cup, we better give it up now and go home," said the former international.

"We talk about respect, that wasn't respect, Croatia didn't get any. If that's a penalty, we don't need to play football anymore. Let's play basketball instead. It's a shame.

"If you continue like this you will have 100 penalties. I think 2.5 billion people watching on TV saw this was not a penalty.

"This was ridiculous and if we continue in this way we will have a circus."

Space began to open up after Brazil's second, with Neymar and Oscar constantly looking to expose that as Lovren and Corluka began to tire and Oscar subsequently punished them with a excellent from from half way and a neat finish into Pletikosa's near corner.

It as not a spectacular performance by any stretch from the hosts, yet they are a side notorious for starting the World Cup campaign in unspectacular fashion. Croatia will find plenty of positives from their performances and will be very expectant of progressing beyond the group stages.

Match Ratings:

Brazil: 

XI: Cesar - 6: Alves - 6: Silva - 8: Luiz - 7: Marcelo - 6: Paulinho - 6: Gustavo - 7: Oscar - 8: Neymar - 8: Hulk - 5: Fred - 5

Subs: Hernanes - 6: Bernard - 5: Ramires - 5

Croatia:

XI: Pletikosa - 4: Srna - 6: Corluka - 5: Lovren - 6: Vrsaljko - 7: Modric - 7: Rakitic - 6: Kovacic - 5: Perisic - 6: Jelavic - 5: Olic - 5

Subs: Brozovic - 4: Rebic - 5

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Topics:
World Cup
Brazil Football
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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