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Soccer-No surprises in Brazil team for World Cup opener

Reuters

By Andrew Downie

SAO PAULO, June 12 (Reuters) - The Brazil team to begin the opening World Cup match against Croatia is the same one which handed world champions Spain their heaviest competitive defeat in almost four decades in last year's Confederations Cup final.

Oscar is favoured over Ramires in midfield and the home side's main attacking hopes will rest with striker Neymar, who is looking for his 32nd international goal in just his 48th game.

Brazil have not lost their opening match in a World Cup since 1934.

Croatia have been hit with a slew of injuries.

Danijel Pranjic injured his ankle in a warm-up against Australia and is absent.

Midfielder Ivan Mocinic was sent home on Wednesday after failing to recover from a recurring ankle injury. The Croats are also missing Gordon Schildenfeld, who is nursing a hamstring strain, and Mario Mandzukic is suspended.

Brazil take the field seeking their 10th successive win and Croatia are unbeaten in five games. (Editing by Ed Osmond)

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