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Brazil Beat Croatia in First 2014 World Cup Match

Neymar scored twice to ensure a Brazilian win at the Arena Corinthians Stadium in Sao Paulo. (Courtesy Photo)
Brazil’s Neymar scored twice and Oscar added another goal as his team beat Croatia 3-1 in the first match Thursday of the World Cup in Sao Paulo.

Neymar scored a penalty following a foul on Fred inside the penalty box. Croatian keeper Stipe Pletikosa almost saved the penalty as he touched it with his two hands but failed to parry it away from the goal-line.

Neymar scored his first goal in the 29th minute with a curling grounder. Chelsea striker, Oscar, sealed the scoreline for the Brazilians in the 91st minute.

Croatia took an early lead in the early stages of the game after Marcelo beat his own keeper following a loose break by the Croatians, who dictated the pace in midfield throughout the game with Real Madrid’s Luka Modric outpacing the Brazilians.

Brazil had nine shots on goal and Croatia four as the samba kings dominated the match with a ball possession of 59 percent.

The soccer-crazed country has spent $11 billion on new stadiums and infrastructure and there are protests occurring in Rio de Janeiro and other cities over the spending.

Meanwhile, Mexico will clash with Cameroon Friday in Group D featuring the two sides, Brazil and Croatia.