World Cup Blog: Brazil are off and running
07:00 13 June 2014
World Cup Group A: Brazil 3 Croatia 1
The anticipation is finally over. The World Cup is underway and though Brazil came through their opening test against Croatia with the three points they were slightly fortunate to do so.
Another opening game shock looked on the cards, ala Cameroon against Argentina in 1990 and Senegal over France in 2002, when Marcelo slotted into his own net to silence the crowd in Sao Paulo.
Neymar, the posterboy of the tournament, did deliver though as he found the net twice and a late goal from Chelsea midfielder Oscar sealed a 3-1 win.
But to say the victory was well-deserved for Brazil would be an understatement.
The first major talking point of the World Cup, on the pitch at least, saw Dejan Lovren adjudged to have fouled striker Fred in the box and referee Yuichi Nishimura pointed to the spot.
It was the softest of penalties, and if you give that then there would be one every time a corner is taken.
Croatian goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa maybe could have done better with Neymar’s opener, and he got a hand to his penalty after the striker did his best to miss it with the now common stuttering run-up.
But he definitely should have got to Oscar’s toe poke and having just had a chance up the other end, Brazil struck the Croatians with a sucker punch.
As opening games go it was certainly full of incident, drama and goals but while it was all of the aforementioned, the referee will undoubtedly make the headlines.
Who knows if the game would have ended 1-1 had he not given the penalty and though the tournament is still in its infancy, there’s already plenty to talk about.
* Lee Power will be following Spain v Netherlands tonight, a repeat of the 2010 final. Follow @London24Sport on Twitter and read his online blog on this website tomorrow.