Brazil v Croatia: World Cup Preview and Confirmed Lineups

 

Brazil Team

Júlio César; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Paulinho, Gustavo; Neymar, Oscar, Hulk; Fred

 

Croatia Team

Pletikosa; Srna, Corluka, Lovren, Vrsaijko; Brozovic, Modric, Rakitic; Perisic, Olic, Jelavic.

Brazil open the World Cup proceedings against Croatia in Sao Paulo

Neymar is expected to light-up the World Cup this year

It’s here! After another four-year wait, World Cup fever is all around and this time it is in the capital of football itself. Brazil are the host nation and take on Croatia in the first match of the tournament and group A. Asif the pressure of an entire nation wasn’t enough, the bookmakers firmly back Brazil as the tournament favourites at a best priced 3/1 with most major outlets. The men in yellow go into the spectacle in great form, winning their last nine internationals and only conceding two goals. Much of Brazil’s hopes rest on the shoulders of 22-year-old superstar Neymar. Having produced a mouthwatering display in the confederations cup on home soil exactly a year ago, winning the accolade of player of the tournament, the Barcelona player will be expected to produce on the biggest stage in football.

 

“To all Brazilians, I want to tell you the time has arrived. This is our World Cup. We have to go up those steps but to start we have to think of the first step. We can’t jump the seven steps.”

Felipe Scolari (Brazil coach)

 

No host nation has ever lost the opening match of a World Cup campaign, but Croatia are looking to upset the massive odds that are stacked against them. This has been made harder due to absence of star striker Mario Mandzukic who is suspended, meaning either Hull City’s Nikica Jelavic or former Arsenal striker Eduardo will occupy the lone striker role. The two sides have only ever met in one other World Cup, that was back in 2006 where a single goal from Kaka was enough to see Brazil triumph 1-0 in the group stage. Croatia are unbeaten since new boss, Niko Kovac, took charge in October. (W3 D2 L0)

 

Team news

Brazil

  • Likely to play a 4-2-3-1 formation
  • Fred likely to start upfront
  • No new injury worries

Croatia

  • Mario Mandzukic injured
  • Daniel Pranjic is injured
  • Milan Badelj replaced Ivan Mocinic in the squad on Wednesday

 

Form guide (Last 5 games)

Brazil

Brazil 1-0 Serbia
Brazil 4-0 Panama
South Africa 0-5 Brazil
Brazil 2-1 Chile
Brazil 5-0 Honduras

 

Croatia

Croatia 1-0 Australia
Croatia 2-1 Mali
Switzerland 2-2 Croatia
Croatia 2-0 Iceland
Iceland 0-0 Croatia

 

Head to head (Last 5 games)

Brazil 1-0 Croatia
Croatia 1-1 Brazil

 

Statistics

  • Host nation of a World Cup have never lost the opening game
  • Brazil have won eight of their last nine opening World Cup group games
  • Croatia have conceded just 11 goals in 13 World Cup matches – The best defensive record out of every team in the tournament
  • Croatia have never beaten Brazil

 

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Posted on June 12, 2014, in Player Selection and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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