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World Cup live blog: June 12

June 12, 2014

The World Cup kicks off with host Brazil facing Croatia today at 4 p.m. in Sao Paulo.

Analysis: Group A  |  Group B  |  Group C  |  Group D  |  Group E  |  Group F  |  Group GGroup H

Full tournament schedule and TV listings  |  Streaming coverage  |  Full tournament coverage

  • Marissa Payne
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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.

  • Marissa Payne
  • ·
Niko Kovac (Dimitar Dikloff/AFP/Getty Images)

Niko Kovac (Dimitar Dikloff/AFP/Getty Images)

Croatia’s Coach Niko Kovac joined many in complaining about the yellow card that was doled out to Dejan Lovren when referee Yuichi Nishimura saw Brazil’s Fred go down. The play resulted in a penalty kick from Neymar that made the score 2-1 with Brazil ahead.

(Via Business Insider)

“If that’s how we start the World Cup, we’d better give it up now and go home. We talk about respect, that wasn’t respect, Croatia didn’t get any,” Kovac told the Yorkshire Post. “If that’s a penalty, we don’t need to play football anymore. Let’s play basketball instead, it’s a shame.”

  • Marissa Payne
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(Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA)

(Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA)

Despite ESPN’s soccer commentators not thinking Brazil put up its best effort this afternoon, the numbers show that they came out ahead of Croatia on pretty all but a few fronts, whether the referee helped them out or not.

Total shots

Brazil: 14

Croatia: 10

Shots on goal

Brazil: 9

Croatia: 4

Fouls

Brazil: 5

Croatia: 21

Time in possession of the ball, percentage-wise

Brazil: 59 percent

Croatia: 41 percent

Saves

Brazil: 4

Croatia: 6

Offsides

Brazil: 1

Croatia: 0

Red cards

Brazil: 0

Croatia: 0

Yellow cards

Brazil: 2

Croatia: 2

(Source: Google)

  • Marissa Payne
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  • Marissa Payne
  • ·

Did Croatia’s Dejan Lovren do anything to deserve that yellow card? Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimira certainly thinks so. Either that, he’s a really big fan of Brazil’s and just wanted to see Neymar get a penalty kick. (Neymar Fred put on a bit of a performance in drawing the foul, but nothing that deserves an Academy Award.) The penalty kick put Brazil up 2-1.

  • Marissa Payne
  • ·
(Paulo Whitaker/Reuters)

(Paulo Whitaker/Reuters)

  • Marissa Payne
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It was his first World Cup goal.

  • Marissa Payne
  • ·

With Neymar out, Brazil’s third goal of the evening came from Oscar during injury time.

  • Marissa Payne
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The substitutions keep coming. Neymar stepped out this time in exchange for Ramires with just over 10 minutes to go.

  • Marissa Payne
  • ·
Neymar of Brazil is tackled by Vedran Corluka of Croatia . (Tolga Bozoglu/EPA)

Neymar of Brazil is tackled by Vedran Corluka of Croatia . (Tolga Bozoglu/EPA)

  • Marissa Payne
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  • Marissa Payne
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Yeah… that’s a bit iffy. Some of the Internet agrees.

Others, however, are just psyched to see Neymar being Neymar.

  • Marissa Payne
  • ·

At least that’s what the ESPN commentators said. A Croatian player got called for a foul close to the goal, which resulted in Neymar getting a penalty kick head-to-head with the Croatian goalie.

Neymar scored.

But upon replay of the “foul,” he probably shouldn’t have had the chance…

  • Marissa Payne
  • ·

He fouled Neymar.

  • Marissa Payne
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With less than 30 minutes to go, both Croatia and Brazil decided to make some substitutions. Croatia went first, subbing in Marcelo Brozovic, who’s earning just his second cap, for Mateo Kovacic. Brazil followed shortly after, subbing in Hernanes for Paulinho.

We’ll see how this shapes things up. The general consensus is that Brazil needs to bring a little more to the table to win.

  • David Larimer
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  • Marissa Payne
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(Erwin Scheriau/EPA)

(Erwin Scheriau/EPA)

He got hit in the face by the ball and then called for a handball. D’oh! But still better than hitting the crossbar twice in one goal attempt, as he did when playing against Dortmund in April.

  • Marissa Payne
  • ·

Not everyone was able to score tickets to the opener, but most people in Sao Paulo seem to have found a way to tune in.

  • Marissa Payne
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  • Marissa Payne
  • ·
(Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

(Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

His full name is Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, but he goes by Neymar Jr. or sometimes just Neymar.

He’s 22 years old and this is his first World Cup.

He also recently appeared on Vogue with another beautiful Brazilian, supermodel Gisele.

Neymar is also possibly feeling the most pressure of any player at this year’s World Cup, as Brazil is desperate to win the tournament on its home turf.

“If Brazil loses, I think we will have a disaster similar to that in 1950,” former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said in a recent interview with Carta Capital, a Brazilian magazine. “I fear tremendous frustration, and we don’t know the psychological result for the people.” Read more about Neymar and the unprecedented amount of pressure that’s on him in this article by the Washington Post’s Dom Phillips, who is stationed in Brazil.

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