Brazil overcame a shock own goal in the 11th minute to defeat Croatia, 3-1, in the opening game of the World Cup. But it needed two long-distance
goals and a suspect penalty to win its ninth straight World Cup opener. Other news: Timmy Chandler
and Philipp Lahm
ready for Germany's opener, Mexico coach Miguel
's lineup for Friday's opener and American Mark Geiger
's first assignment.
goal in the 11th minute gave Croatia a deserved lead for its enterprising approach, but Neymar
equalized with his 32nd international goal in the 29th minute.
The game was decided in the 71st minute on Neymar's second goal, this time from the penalty spot after Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura
ruled Dejan Lovren
in the area, but replays showed the Brazilian fell on his own. Oscar
added a late goal for Brazil in stoppage time -- a bouncing toe-poke that fooled keeper Stipe Pletikosa
-- to the relief
of the the crowd at Arena Corinthians after sustained Croatian pressure. SOCCER AMERICA's free e-eletters: SIGN UP Brazil-Croatia Group A June 12 in Sao Paulo
Brazil 3 Croatia 1.
Goals: Neymar 29, pen. 71, Oscar 90+1; own goal 11.
Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Luiz, Marcelo, Paulinho, Gustavo, Hulk (Bernard, 68), Oscar, Neymar (Ramires 88), Fred.
Pletikosa, Srna, Corluka, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Kovacic (Brozovic, 61), Olic, Jelavic
Brazil -- Neymar 27; Croatia -- Corluka 65, Lovren 70.
Yuichi Nishimura (Japan). Group A Standings: PTS TEAM W-T-L GF/GA 3 Brazil
1-0-0 3/1 0 Cameroon
0-0-0 0/0 0 Croatia
0-0-1 1/3 0 Mexico
0-0-0 0/0 WORLD CUP: Complete 2014 Viewing Schedule MAKING A LIST:
Neymar became the sixth Brazilian to score two goals in Brazil's opening game of the World Cup but the first since 1962 ... Brazil Two-Goal Scorers: 1938
Peracio (6-5 vs. Poland) 1950
Ademir (4-0 vs. Mexico)
Pinga (5-0 vs. Mexico) 1958
Mazzola (3-0 vs. Austria) 1962
Amarildo (2-0 vs. Mexico) 2014
Neymar (3-1 vs. Croatia) Barra Funda Update ...
CHANDLER SITS. Timmy Chandler
, who is competing for the starting left back spot, did not participate
in the USA's training because of a leg injury termed minor. He was expected to resume training on Friday at the Sao Paulo FC training center before the USA flies to Natal ahead of Monday's opener
against Ghana. On the Ground ...
there were clashes in Sao Paulo in the hours before the opener, it should be noted that the numbers involved were much smaller than in 2013 when Brazilians protested en masse during the Confederations
Several hundred demonstrators gathered east of downtown Sao Paulo but still far from the Arena Corinthians in an attempt to cut off the road to the stadium, and they clashed heavily
armed police firing tear gas, rubber bullets and noise bombs. At least five people, including CNN producer Barbara Arvanitidis
, were injured in clashes. The
number of demonstrators is consistent with the crowds that have turned out in recent months. On Deck ...
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera
named Guillermo Ochoa
over Jesus Corona
to start in goal Friday against Cameroon. Piojo's
choice in goal was the big question mark about the El Tri lineup heading into its opener. Herrera's decision to start Oribe Peralta
and Giovani dos Santos
and leave out Javier Hernandez
, Mexico’s third all-time leading goalscorer, was not a
surprise. WORLD CUP: 503 Places to Watch
“The team that started against Portugal made me very happy on the offensive [end]," Herrera said. "There was good chemistry between Dos Santos and Oribe.”
players who started in Mexico's 2-2 tie with the USA on April 2 are in the starting lineup: captain Rafael Marquez
and Miguel Layun
, all defenders in Herrera's 5-3-2. Mexico --
Ochoa; Marquez, Rodriguez, Moreno; Aguilar, Layun; Vazquez, Guardado, Herrera; Dos Santos, Peralta. WORLD CUP: 503 Places to Watch Referee Corner
GEIGER GETS SATURDAY GAME.
American referee Mark Geiger
has been assigned work his first World Cup
game on Saturday when Colombia plays Greece in Belo Horizonte.
Geiger's assistants are American Mark Hurd
and Canadian Joe Fletcher
, forming the same crew that did the 2011 Under-20 World Cup final in Colombia, the match he calls the highlight of his career.
Injury Report ... LAHM AND NEUER READY.
Germany's injury worries
lessened as national team coach Joachim Loew
said on Thursday that captain Philipp Lahm
, who was also struggling with an
injured ankle, will likely start against Portugal on Monday in Salvador -- in midfield rather than in the back four.
Loew added that goalie Manuel
, who had not trained with the national team since he injured his right shoulder in the German Cup final with Bayern Munich on May 17, will also start after having taken part in training