World Cup Match Report: Brazil outlasts Croatia 3-1 but not without controversy

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle
Brazil's Neymar celebrates after scoring during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Instant Analysis

Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 in an opening match filled with shock, relief and controversy. It started out as a worst case scenario come to life for Brazil with Marcelo's own goal in the 10th minute, but it ended with two goals from Neymar and a dose of good fortune as the referee awarded a very soft penalty for go-ahead goal in the 71st minute. Oscar scored the final goal in added time to finish off a nervy test from a solid Croatia side.

Man of the Match

Neymar, Brazil — Everyone pegged him to be the star of this tournament and he's delivering right from the start, scoring his first two goals in his first World Cup match.

Buzzy Moment

After being mostly invisible, Brazil striker Fred suddenly appeared just in time to fall down to draw the penalty that produced Brazil's second goal.

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Always emotional Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar during the pre-match national anthem.

What's Next

Brazil didn't plan it this way, but a win in the World Cup is a win in the World Cup, so they'll take the three points and a place atop Group A that they should now maintain. Croatia might feel hard done by the referee, but now they have to regroup and take points against Mexico and Cameroon to advance.