News about strikes, unfinished stadiums and general unrest in Brazil simmered down as the world prepared for the 2014 World Cup to kick off, which it did in a most interesting way — a paraplegic kicked the first ball by using a mind-controlled exoskeleton suit!
Less spectacularly during the opening ceremonies in Sao Paulo, an oddly dressed Pitbull joined Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte for a performance of the tournament’s official anthem “We Are One (Ole Ola).”
And then, finally, it was on to the opening match. Brazil took on Croatia.
The first goal was a surprise score for Croatia. Mostly because Brazil’s Marcelo was responsible for it. He own goaled in the 11th minute.
The second was less surprising. Neymar lived up to his hype when he scored the equalizer in the 29th minute.
The third goal proved to be the most controversial. Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura booked Croatia’s Dejan Lovren for a yellow card in the box after Fred went down, or as some might say, flopped, which resulted in a penalty kick for Neymar in the 77th minute.
The fourth goal of the game, which was the third for Brazil and first for the kicker, came from Brazil’s Oscar during injury time.
Brazil clinched the first game 3-1 and Brazil celebrated.