Brazil Face Croatia In World Cup Opener

Neymar - Brazil Soccer Team
Neymar will spearhead the Brazil attack against Croatia. Picture: Adrian Dennis/AFP Photo

Brazil Flag

Brazil v Croatia


Corinthians Arena, Sao Paulo
Friday June 13 – 6:00 AM (AEST)


Croatia Flag


Brazil are firm favourites to begin their World Cup campaign with a win when they meet Croatia in the opening match on Friday.

With a lethal attacking line-up set to take the field on Friday, Brazil will be out to live up to expectations with a win. Spearheaded by a host of young players, the Brazilians boast some of the biggest names in world football. Barcelona winger Neymar will have heavy shoulders coming into the tournament and he’s the obvious danger for the Croatians. There was a scare at training on Monday when the star went down after a collision, but he was subsequently cleared of any serious injury. The hosts have had a mixed lead up to the tournament, with a sloppy 1-0 win over Serbia overshadowing a 4-0 drubbing of Panama. They were lucky to beat Serbia and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will demand nothing less than a commanding victory come Friday.

Croatia head into the opening clash off an unconvincing 1-0 win over the Socceroos. Hull City’s Nikica Jelavic scored the game’s only goal. Bayern Munich forward Mario Manzukic missed the final pre-tournament hit-out through suspension and the striker will be out to impress. His combination with Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, who had a relatively quiet match against the Socceroos, is a priority for coach Niko Kovac. Other Croatians who may prove a menace to Brazil include veterans Ivica Olic and Darijo Srna.

Ranked 18th in the world according to FIFA’s standings, the Croats are tipped to give Brazil the most trouble in their group and are certainly capable of an upset. Scolari will have his men primed and ready to go though, and the hosts should kick off their campaign with a win.

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