Two Neymar goals, moment of controversy see Brazil start with 3- - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Two Neymar goals, moment of controversy see Brazil start with 3-1 win over Croatia

Posted: Updated:

(NBC) --Two goals from Brazil’s biggest star got the World Cup off to a successful start for the hosts, but controversy overshadowed Neymar’s brace as Brazil 2014 kicked off in Sao Paolo. After a 71st minute penalty drawn by Brazilian striker Fred left Croatia pleading its case to referee Yuishi Nishimura, the tournament favorites had their first lead, with stoppage time insurance alloying the favorites to claim a 3-1 result.

The underdogs were up after 11 minutes when a ball rolled into the penalty area by Ivica Olic was turned into Brazil’s net by Selecao left back Marcelo – the team’s first own goal in World Cup history. Eighteen minutes later, Neymar converted his first of the day, rolling a ball from the top of the arc inside Stipe Pletikosa‘s left post.

After Brazil gained momentum before halftime, Croatia assumed more control of the game in the second. That control was rebuked when Nishimura pointed to the spot in the 69th minute, issuing Croatian defenderDejan Lovren a yellow card after a disputed foul on Fred. Neymar’s finish from the spot delivered full points for the hosts.

One minute into stoppage time, a counterattack against the pursuing Croatians produced a chance from Oscar from just beyond the arc. Poking the ball inside Pletikosa’s right post, the Chelsea midfielder gave Brazil its insurance, producing a flattering two-goal result.

Play in Group A continues tomorrow when Mexico faces Cameroon in Natal. Brazil returns to the field Tuesday against Mexico in Fortaleza, while Croatia will face Cameroon on Wednesday in Manaus.

A slow start from Brazil gave Croatia two chances to strike first, the second of which put Niko Kovac’s team in front. In the seventh minute, a cross from the left by Ivan Perisic found Olic at the far post, but the Wolfsburg attacker’s snap header went just side of Julio César’s upright. Four minutes later, however, play built down Croatia’s left allowed Olic to roll a ball toward the edge of the six. A touch from Nikica Jelavic in the middle of the box caught Marcelo off guard, leading to an own goal.

By the middle of the half, Brazil had shaken off their nerves, with chances from Paulinho and Oscar just after the 20-minute mark proving the favorites’ first threats on Pletikosa’s goal. In the 29th minute, a more benign chance finally produced the Selecao’s equalizer, with a scuffed shot by Neymar from 24 yards out nestling inside Pletikosa’s lower left hand corner.

Brazil built on that mid-half momentum but were unable to take the lead before half time. When the teams returned to the field, a more settled Croatia saw kept of the ball, with the team content to play around the edges of the Brazilian defense. The edge in possession that saw Brazil hold over 70 percent of the ball in the first half started to even out.

As the underdogs sent in reinforcements and Luiz Felipe Scolari looked for solutions, Croatia continued to bleed time off the clock, dominating the ball amid almost no pressure from the hosts’ midfield. Playing through Luka Modric in the middle, the underdogs spent most of the half’s first 20 minutes probing down the flanks before pulling the ball back toward the center circle. All the danger the favorites posed in the moments before halftime was gone.

In the 69th minute, Nishimura bailed the hosts out. On a ball played into the penalty area from the right by Oscar, Fred went to ground in front of defender Dejan Lovren, drawing a whistle. Pletikosa guessed correctly on Neymar’s try from the spot, but his hands weren’t strong enough to keep out a ball sent high into the left side of goal.

Over the game’s final 23 minutes, César was called on to make three big saves, with chasing Croatia controlling play over the match’s final chapter. In the 91st minute, however, Oscar brought their story to an end, with a ball poked from near 24 yards out getting past Pletikosa at the left post. Where César had stepped up to preserve his team’s points, Pletikosa had let in a second soft goal.

The 3-1 scoreline is what Selecao would have wanted at minute zero, but the form between the whistles left little difference in quality between the tournament favorites and a team hoping to escape Group A. The hosts took full points, but they needed some helped from Nishimura to do so.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Ice Bucket Challenge made to Tioga Detectives

    Ice Bucket Challenge made to Tioga Detectives

    Friday, August 15 2014 5:38 PM EDT2014-08-15 21:38:12 GMT
    TIOGA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - In November of 2003, the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office lost one of its most devoted and hard working Detectives we have ever had. More >>
    TIOGA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - In November of 2003, the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office lost one of its most devoted and hard working Detectives we have ever had. More >>
  • Mississippi man shot after reporting cross burning in his yard

    Mississippi man shot after reporting cross burning in his yard

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:30 AM EDT2014-08-20 15:30:00 GMT
    JACKSON, Miss. (CBS News) -- A Mississippi sheriff says a man was beaten and shot two weeks after calling authorities to report a cross burning in his yard, and investigators are trying to determine whether the attack was prompted by people being upset that the man was visited by his mixed-race grandchildren.More >>
    JACKSON, Miss. (CBS News) -- A Mississippi sheriff says a man was beaten and shot two weeks after calling authorities to report a cross burning in his yard, and investigators are trying to determine whether the attack was prompted by people being upset that the man was visited by his mixed-race grandchildren.More >>
  • Tropical disturbance moving to the Caribbean Sea

    Tropical disturbance moving to the Caribbean Sea

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:15 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:15:54 GMT
    Wednesday, August 2011:30 AMMost of the Atlantic Basin is quiet, but there are two tropical disturbances being monitored. The first disturbance isroughly 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. An area of low pressure remains disorganized as it slowly moves westward at 10 to 15 mph. It will continue toward the Caribbean Sea, and will then reach conditions that are favorable for tropical development. Low wind shear, and warm Caribbean waters could strengthen the cluster of thunderstorms into ...More >>
    Wednesday, August 2011:30 AMMost of the Atlantic Basin is quiet, but there are two tropical disturbances being monitored. The first disturbance isroughly 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. An area of low pressure remains disorganized as it slowly moves westward at 10 to 15 mph. It will continue toward the Caribbean Sea, and will then reach conditions that are favorable for tropical development. Low wind shear, and warm Caribbean waters could strengthen the cluster of thunderstorms into ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.