The opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicked off at 4.00am (GMT +8.00) this morning (Thursday) with host Brazil taking on Croatia in Group A. It wasn’t without surprises and controversy though, with an own goal in the 11th minute Brazil’s Marcelo giving Croatia the lead in the first half, then a questionable penalty that was awarded to Brazil in the 29th minute.
Marcelo was obviously distracted (see pic) as he scored the first goal of the tournament, into his own net.
Neymar Jr., equalised less than 20 minutes later to put the two teams tied at the half.
In the 71st minute though, a questionable call by referee Nishimura Yuichi gave Brazil a penalty, which Neymar Jr, duly converted without drama.
The Japanese official was widely criticised for the penalty. Croatia coach Niko Kovac said, “This is shameful, this is not a World Cup referee. He had one kind of criteria for them and another for us. The rules were not the same.”
Controversies aside, Oscar left no doubt about the final results as he netted Brazil’s winning goal in stoppage time.
A tentative but winning start for Brazil’s WC campaign.
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Oscar, Neymar, Hulk, Fred.
Croatia: Stipe Pletikosa, Sime Vrsaljko, Darijo Srna, Dejan Lovren, Vedran Corluka, Ivan Rakitic, Nikica Jelavic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Ivica Olic, Mateo Kovacic.
- Mexico vs Cameroon (Group A) – 00:00
- Spain vs Netherlands (Group B) – 03:00
- Chile vs Australia (Group B) – 06:00
Image credit: FIFA.com