BRAZIL 3-1 CROATIA
The opening game of the 2014 World Cup was quite entertaining. Not exactly everything went down as we had thought it would… Brazil were expected to score first and NOT in their own net.
However, despite Marcelo putting the ball into his own net after just 11 minutes Brazil did not slump, their performance seemed unaffected as they played on and on, with confidence.
Neymar would score the equalizer around the half hour mark and Brazil were level with Croatia, once again. The two teams played end to end football, where both teams had opportunities to score. At half time the score was still 1-1 and it would not be until the 71st minute that another goal was scored.
This time, the referee had a helping hand in it as one of the Brazil players had simply seemed to have slipped on the pitch (dramatically yes, but still a natural slip and not a foul in my opinion) inside the penalty area, which caused the official to point to the penalty spot. Neymar took the penalty, confidently and with such power that the Croatian goalkeeper actually got a hand to it (maybe even both hands) before it still blasted into the net.
The scoreline looked seemingly unfair at that point, with the penalty decision being so controversial. If Croatia lost 2-1, it would have been points stolen off them as they would have deserved a 1-1 draw. However, later on Oscar (of Chelsea) proved that the Brazilians did not just need a referee’s bad decision to win the game as he put the ball in the net around the 90 minute mark and the game was wrapped up by the hosts who could celebrate the first victory of the tournament in their own country.
Key players: (Luka) Modric and Jelavic were Croatia’s finest players with Jelavic playing a part in what forced Marcelo to score the own goal. they put pressure on their opponents for the full 90 minutes. You can’t say they didn’t try. I was impressed with the Croatian goalkeeper who reacted well and almost managed to deny Neymar his second goal from the penalty spot as he correctly guessed the way the Brazilian was going to shoot and even “half-saved” the ball before it made its way into the net, behind him. I’d still say you could count on him in a penalty shoot out.
Neymar scored twice in one game, one being a (controversially given) penalty. His goal from open play was quite spectacular and I can’t wait to see Brazil’s next game, to get to see Neymar do what he did already, all over again. There’s still some Brazil players who haven’t fully shown what they are capable of just yet. I think we’ll see more from players like Fred and Willian, even in the remaining group stage games to play.
Writer: Stuart Drewery
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red. I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.
I’m a die hard Liverpool fan (only supported ONE club in my whole life, Liverpool) and one of the most dedicated fans you’ll ever meet.