SAO PAULO (Sporting Alert) — Two goals from Neymar piloted Brazil to a 3-1 victory over Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 Fifa World Cup finals in Sao Paulo on Thursday night.
Neymar netted the equalizer in the 29th minute to cancelled out an own goal by Marcelo, which gave Croatia the lead in the 11th minute – before scoring his second goal from the penalty spot to give Brazil a 2-1 lead in the 71th minute.
With his two goals tonight, Neymar is now joint seventh in the goal scoring department for Brazil, as he joins Ronaldinho and Jairzinho with 33 goals.
Brazil’s third goal on the night game from an enticing run from Oscar, who after running out of options, took his toe-poke shot from outside the box, which beat Stipe Pletikosa in goal to seal the game for the World Cup hosts in the Group A opener.
Meanwhile, the penalty kick won by Fred has been the subject of debate after replays clearly showed that the Brazilian forward made more of the challenge than what it really was to win the spot at a time when nothing was happening for either him or his team.
Croatian defender Dejan Lovren also got an undeserved yellow card.
There was continuous riots on the streets before and during the game with police officers forced to use tear gas at protesters.
Brazil v Croatia
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Luiz, Marcelo, Paulinho, Gustavo, Hulk, Oscar, Neymar, Fred. Subs: Jefferson, Fernandinho, Dante, Maxwell, Henrique, Ramires, Hernanes, Willian, Bernard, Jo, Maicon, Victor
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)