Kovac happy to be facing Brazil in opener

Croatia coach Niko Kovac believes his team face hosts Brazil at the best possible time at the FIFA World Cup.

The European nation meet Brazil in the tournament opener in Sao Paulo on June 12, and will be without suspended star striker Mario Mandzukic.

Kovac said playing Luiz Felipe Scolari's under-pressure side, one of the tournament favourites, first was ideal ahead of matches against Cameroon and Mexico in Group A.

"For us it is an honour to open a World Cup against Brazil," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"And if we already have to play against them, it's better to play them first than second or third.

"The pressure on Brazil is huge, exceeding those felt at clubs. We all know the expectations on them.

"I think our group is one of the toughest at the tournament. I can't promise anything but that we'll give our all."

Kovac believes he has worked out the tactics to contain Brazil but said executing was another thing all together.

"Brazil is a team who press in the first 15 minutes and that's how they set up matches," he said.

"I think we have solutions but it is one thing to think about them and another what is possible for the players on the field.

"We have a quality, potent squad and believe in ourselves."

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