World Cup host Brazil celebrates victory as it beats Croatia 3-1 on the opening game of the series.
Brazil was initially alarmed as Croatia made its first goal after Marcelo delivered an own-goal on the 11
-minute mark. BleacherReport indicates that “Croatia attacked up the left side and put in a low cross that Marcelo accidentally knocked past goalkeeper Julio Cesar.”
Marcelo’s error was described as a “major upset and a party-pooper in process” as this was Brazil’s first own-goal in history.
Despite the error, the hosts managed to pick up the pace and score after the team’s star player Neymar tied the game 18 minutes later.
Croatia was struggling on ball possession during the second half as Brazil dominated the field, achieving a possession rate of 59%. Still, it did not turn out to be easy for the home players as Croatia’s defenses were solid and firm.
However, a controversial penalty in favor of Brazil allowed them to score another goal. Croatia’s coach Niko Kovac contests the penalty as Fred “fell theatrically to the ground with little contact from a Croatian defender.”
According to Kovac’s statement in The New York Times, “It has to do with playing here in Brazil,” Kovac said. “I think Brazil does not need any help from referees.”
In addition, he said that the decision to be “ridiculous” and stated, “If we continue in this vein, there will be 100 penalties in this World Cup.”
Nonetheless, Oscar rallies Brazil to victory as he pushed through Croatia’s defenses and manages to score another goal.