has been elected Man of the Match
|88MINUTES PLAYED||49TOTAL PASSES||2GOALS FOR||4SHOTS|
In the end the hosts were too strong for Niko Kovac's Croatia, though their early lead off of Marcelo's own goal defintiely had the crowd in the Arena de Sao Paulo worried!
|9||Attempts On Target||4|
|3||Total Goals Scored||1|
Oscar weaves his way through the Croatian backline and fires a low stirke from long range, catching Pletikosa off-guard. A brilliantly placed finish puts the game all but out of reach for the Europeans.
David Luiz comes up with a massive stop to prevent Croatia's equaliser!
Scolari makes his last substitution of the night, taking off the hosts' hero and brining on Ramires in a defensive-minded change. The entire Arena de Sao Paulo are on their feeting applauding Neymar after his two-goal performance.
Brazil celebrate with their goal scorer after the No10 calmly finished his penalty to put the hosts up 2-1.
Croatia were on the doorstep of Brazil's goal and initially looked to have scored, but Olic fouled Julio Cesar and the referee rightly stopped play.
Watching #bracro ! Excited! You? #WorldCup2014 http://t.co/lcGkpxfahw— BelgianRedDevils (@BelgianRedDevils) 12/06/2014 21:42
WHAT A CHANCE:
The Brazil centre-back comes flying forward and nearly connects on a diving header, but it misses just high.
TENSION FROM 12 YARDS:
Curious how Neymar must have felt just before finishing that penalty? This piece looks at the art of the penalty taking from around the world:
Croatia come storming back after the restart and David Luiz is forced to clear for a corner.
Neymar takes a stutter-step approach and shoots to Pletikosa's right. The Croatian keeper managed to get a hand on, causing a gasp from the crowd, but the No10's shot was too powerful and found its way into the goal.
Neymar places the ball on spot, looking to score his second of the game.
Penalty! Nishimura points straight away to the spot after Fred was taken down in the area by Lovren.
That's Brazil's second subtitution tonight, Scolari electing to bring on the pacy Bernard in place of Hulk.
The Brazil No2 had plenty of pace behind his free-kick but it was never looking to surprise Pletikosa, who was happy to watch the ball sail high.
The Croatian is booked after clearing out Neymar in the middle of the park. That's certainly not the first time the Brazil No10 has been brought down aggressively.
Luiz Felipe Scolari follows suit shortly thereafter with his first change by bringing on Hernanes, who is likelier to get into the attack than Paulinho.
Croatia coach Niko Kovac has made the game's first change and it's a one-for-one swap in the midfield.
A total of 62,103 fans have gathered at the Arena de Sao Paulo to take in the Opening Match, and they have helped create a remarkable World Cup atmosphere
We're ten minutes into the second half and Croatia are still struggling to get our of their half. The crowd are sensing a goal from the hosts, but nothing doing so far.
OPENING CEREMONY PHOTOS:
We have some tremendous photos of the Opening Ceremony on Facebook, and over 250,000 fans have already liked it!
Brazil have been camped in Croatia's final third in search of a second goal, but Pletikosa's backline has held up well so far.
WHAT YOU'RE SAYING:
Here's what you had to say about the first half of the Opening Match:
Stunning beginning of the match with the own goal.
I'd say Pletikosa's an early candidate for man of the match...
The second half is under way, the Brazilians resuming activity.
Take a look at these three pieces from FIFA.com to keep you entertained during the half-time break. Don't forget to also #joinin the global conversation on our social hub to interact with fellow users!
Sampaio: You can't imagine this match
Hart: I take nothing for granted
Parreira: Neymar looks so relaxed
Voting is now open for your man of the match - who's caught your eye today?Vote for your Man of the Match
After an entertaining first 45 minutes of football from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Croatia and the hosts head into half-time level at 1-1. As indicated in the statistics below, A Seleção dominated possession but Marcelo's early own goal put them in an early deficit, only for Neymar to equalise 18 minutes later.
|7||Attempts On Target||1|
|1||Total Goals Scored||1|
Neymar dribbles at the defence with pace yet again, the ball comes back to Hulk who shoots but misses high and wide
Brazil breaking fast on the counter-attack
Croatia have been putting in some tough challenges all night, particularly on the goalscorer Neymar.
A Seleção surround Neymar after notching the equaliser
Neymar's goal came in the 29th minute and was from close range, but in Croatia's two meetings with Brazil, they conceded a goal just before half-time, both from distance (Ricardinho in 2005, Kaka at Germany 2006).
That strike is Neymar's 5th goal in his last 6 competitive games for Brazil
The crowd is delighted with the equaliser and the decible level in the stadium has just risen significantly!
Neymar breaks free of the Croatian defenders, leaving them in his wake before setting himself and shooting across Pletikosa with his left foot, the ball nestles in the bottom corner, off the post
The crowd are trying to get Brazil going here in Sao Paulo, raising the noise level every few minutes when the hosts have the ball in the Croatia half
The Croatian is ecstatic after the Europeans take the lead
Don't forget, you can now take part in the Kick-Off Ball Contest!Take the quiz now, win the kick-off ball!
What a save! After Neymar dribbles past Rakitic, the ball is cleared out but only as far as Oscar who takes a shot from long range. Pletikosa is well up to the task though.
Paulinho's shot stings the hands of Pletikosa but fortunately for the Croatia keeper it was right at him.
Croatia's No4 challenges Marcelo, who turned the ball into his own net.
The crowd is significantly quieter now, but Brazil are continuing to push ahead looking for an equaliser.
Olic breaks down the Croatia left and is not closed down. He hits a low cross towards goal which is flicked on by Nikica Jelavic at the front post, Marcelo cannot stop his feet in time and it ends up in the back of the net
Just wide! Ivica Olic's header towards the far post is just off the mark. Great effort from the Croatians.
Brazil have maintained the majority of the possesion so far, and now have a dangerous free-kick opportunity after Hulk is fouled near the far touchline
Neymar treats the crowd to some early skills, which delights the majority of those in the stadium
The decibel level reaches an incredible high as the crowd anticipate kick-off. The Estadio de Sao Paulo is ready. The world is ready. And Croatia will get us under way
Three young Brazilians walk out to the centre circle, surrounded by Brazil and Croatia to release doves as an international sign of peace.
These are the most-popular line-ups chosen by FIFA.com users.
12 JULIO CESAR, 2 Dani ALVES, 3 Thiago SILVA, 4 DAVID LUIZ, 6 MARCELO, 7 HULK, 9 FRED, 10 NEYMAR, 8 PAULINHO, 11 OSCAR, 16 RAMIRES
1 Stipe PLETIKOSA, 2 Sime VRSALJKO, 3 Danijel PRANJIC, 5 Vedran CORLUKA, 6 Dejan LOVREN, 17 Mario MANDZUKIC, 22 EDUARDO, 4 Ivan PERISIC, 7 Ivan RAKITIC, 10 Luka MODRIC, 20 Mateo KOVACIC
The captains meet at midfield and shake hands with Yuichi Nishimura and his officiating crew.
BRAZIL-CROATIA TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS
Absolutely stunning. No music needed now, just the voices of nearly everyone in the Arena de Sao Paulo singing Brazil's anthem.
Brazil's anthem is underway and seemingly everyone is singing along!
Everyone is on their feet as the team's line up on either side of the officials, ready for the national anthems. First up: Croatia
Brazil skipper Thiago Silva and Croatia captain Darijo Srna lead their teams out of the tunnel to a deafening noise inside the Arena de Sao Paulo.
And here come A Seleção now. There are some great demonstrations of sportmanship in the tunnel, both sides reaching over for hugs and handshakes. That's great to see.
Croatia are starting to line up in the tunnel ahead of the pre-match procession. There looks to be great team spirit among the Europeans. Just waiting for Brazil to emerge now.
Croatia's coach spoke to us about the honour of leading his home country to the World Cup
Before today's Opening Match, we were treated to an incredible opening ceremony featuring three astonishing acts and a performance of the Official Song 'We Are One'. Enjoy this gallery of some of the best photos from the event.
CROATIANS IN BRAZIL:
A neighbourhood on the south side of Sao Paulo is home to many Croatians, which helps link the two countries together in football. We have the story here:
They’re Croatians. They live in Brazil. Members of the Sacra Paulistana Croatian Society express their emotions to FIFA.com as their birth nation and home nation prepare to collide.
|2||Total Goals scored||1|
Croatia head to the dressing room for one final team talk from coach Niko Kovac before heading back out for kick-off.
The announcer is listing Brazil's squad and with each name said the crowd gets louder and louder. What an atmosphere!
The Brazil No12 loosens his arms and shoulders as a part of his warm-up
Japan's Yuichi Nishimura is the man in the middle for today's match.
Japan’s Yuichi Nishimura has been assigned as the referee for the Opening Match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday 12 June.
This is the fourth time that Brazil have played the World Cup Opening Match. In previous curtain-raisers A Seleção notched two wins (4-0 over Mexico in 1950 and 2-1 against Scotland in 1998) and one draw (0-0 against Yugoslavia in 1974).
No Host Country has ever lost an Opening Match. Will Croatia be able to buck that trend today? Brazil are also looking to avoid back-to-back World Cup defeats for the first time since 1970.
Play World Cup Predictor!World Cup Predictor
It's a sea of yellow and green standing and cheering for A Seleção. A composed Neymar gives the crowd a wave in response.
Brazil are running out of the tunnel now to boisterous applause!
WHAT YOU'RE SAYING
We asked a question to our @FIFAWorldCup Twitter followers about how they think the Opening Match will play out. Here is what they had to say:
@FIFAWorldCup @CBF_Futebol 2-1 Croatia. Never under estimate the underdogs! They will come out with a surprise.— Rico (@Rico) 12/06/2014 19:16
@FIFAWorldCup @CBF_Futebol Home game, Home fans, Home support.. 2-0 to #BRA— Prakash Gurnani ® (@Prakash Gurnani ®) 12/06/2014 19:17
And now it's the Croatian goalkeepers' turn to enter the pitch.
Brazil's goalkeepers are on the pitch for their pre-match warm-ups.
Welcome to the LIVE match blog for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Opening Match! We hope you're as excited as we are to kick-off in just under an hour's time. Stay here for the latest pictures, news, stats and much more as we bring you minute-by-minute coverage of Brazil's clash with Croatia from Sao Paulo.
Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo