SAO PAULO (Sporting Alert) — Playmaker Oscar starts for Brazil, despite his recent poor form as the hosts take on Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 Fifa World Cup finals in Sao Paulo on Thursday evening.
- World Cup Opening Ceremony; Brazil v Croatia TV Channels
- Live Streaming on ESPN3: Brazil vs Croatia World Cup Group A
The Chelsea player, Oscar, will play as the advanced midfielder in a the three man midfield that also includes Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo.
He got the nod over fellow club mate Willian, who has been in good form.
Neymar, Hulk, Thiago Silva and David Luiz also start as head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari named the same starting line-up that beat Spain 3-0 in last summer’s Confederations Cup final.
This team is also the same starting XI that beat Serbia 1-0 in the last friendly game, with Fred netting the winner in that contest.
For Croatia, they are without Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic, who is out because of suspension, which means that Nikica Jelavic forward Nikica Jelavic will lead the attack in the World Cup opener.
Also starting this evening are Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric and FC Basel’s Ivan Rakitic in midfield, as well as Southampton defender Dejan Lovren, who starts in defense.
Brazil v Croatia
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Croatia: Pletikosa, Srna, Corluka, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Kovacic, Olic, Jelavic. Subs: Zelenika, Pranjic, Vukojevic, Schildenfeld, Brozovic, Rebic, Sammir, Vida, Eduardo, Subasic.
Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)