Rakitic urges positive outlook despite defeat

Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic has urged his team-mates to keep their heads up ahead of their next fixture against Cameroon.

Niko Kovac's side fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of hosts Brazil in their FIFA World Cup opener on Thursday, falling behind after the home side were awarded a controversial penalty in the 71st minute.

Neymar duly dispatched for his second of the match, before Oscar rounded off the scoring, and Rakitic feels it is disappointing that a refereeing decision is dominating the post-match debate.

"It is a shame that after such an intensive match of two great teams we have to talk about the referee," he said. "International press asks the same questions. We have worked hard and deserved more, we had to take at least a point.

"However, in a couple of days' time nobody will ask any more questions, only the final result will be remembered.

"That is painful, because we gave all that we could. We played aggressive football and probably would not concede the second goal if there was no penalty.

"Now we have to relax, raise our heads and prepare for Cameroon."

Croatia face Cameroon in Group A on Wednesday.


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