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Brazil survive Croatia scare to win opening match

Brazil survive Croatia scare to win opening match

Brazil started their tournament with 3 points

Brazil won their first game of the World Cup with a 3-1 victory thanks to two goals from Neymar and a late decisive strike from Chelsea midfielder Oscar. Real Madrid defender Marcelo had scored an early own goal to put Croatia ahead.

In a controversial opening game to the World Cup, referee Yuichi Nishimura made two strange decisions that appeared to gift Brazil the crucial three points in their Group A clash.

Croatia took a surprise lead early on as Ivica Olic found space past Daniel Alves at right back, to squeeze a ball into the box only for Marcelo to flick the ball past his own goalkeeper, Julio Cesar. The Sao Paulo stadium was silenced and Brazil looked to be struggling in their first game of the tournament.

Neymar Jr would then show why many believe that the Brazilian will be the best player of the World Cup tournament. Finding some room about 25 yards away from goal, the Barcelona frontman launched a low bouncing ball into the far corner of the Croatian goal, with the ball bouncing in off the post. 

Yuichi Nishimura, the Japanese referee in charge of the game, then made two very controversial decisions. Neymar arguably should have been sent off for elbowing Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, but only received a yellow card.

Secondly, Brazilian forward Fred went down far too easily in the box under a challenge from Southampton defender Dejan Lovren. Up stepped Neymar for the penalty to put the South American side in front.

With just injury time remaining, Chelsea's midfielder and man of the match Oscar would wrap up the goal with a beautiful run from the middle of the pitch and then toeing the ball past Croatia's goalkeeper to secure the 3 points.

It was not the most convincing of opening games for the hosts, but the Brazilians will be delighted to have got off the mark under the pressure of an expecting nation.