Samba Sunrise: Neymar drives Brazil to opening day victory

FourFourTwo summaries all the headlines, reactions and features from Brazil into one nifty breakfast package. You're welcome!

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Group A - Brazil 3 (Neymar 28', 70' Oscar 90') Croatia 1 (Marcelo o.g. 10')
Match Report • Stats Zone


The bulk of the early reactions from both camps have of course been on the controversial penalty awarded to Fred in the 70th minute. The Brazilian forward went down under minimal pressure in the Croatian box, allowing Neymar to power home the equaliser from the penalty spot.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was adamant that justice had been served, saying that he believed that a foul had been committed and a penalty warranted.

An irate Niko Kovac begged to differ though, as the Croatia coach labelled the decision 'a disgrace'. "If that was penalty, than we should play basketball, not football," he told HTV.


Vicente del Bosque insists his Spain side remain unaffected by Cesc Fabregas' move to Chelsea on Thursday. The veteran coach has claimed that the high-profile transfer will do little to disrupt their preparations ahead of their World Cup opener against the Netherlands.

Per Mertesacker says Germany's bevy of talented players to pick from is 'more luxury than a problem'. The towering centre-back thinks everyone has a role to play even if they miss out on a place in the matchday squad. 

Joachim Low has a plan to stop Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday, as the Germany boss has tasked Philipp Lahm and Jerome Boateng with marking the Portuguese superstar. "You cannot let him out of your sight, literally. You've always got to ask 'what's Ronaldo doing, where is Ronaldo?'"

England forward Wayne Rooney has also taken a not so subtle swipe at Ronaldo, claiming his former teammate is more interested in individual honors. "I've won PFA Player of the Year, which is nowhere near as good as winning a trophy with Manchester United." The Ballon d'Or might be a bit different, Roo.

Lots of nervous faces in the Portugal camp ahead of their opening game against Germany on Tuesday, as Fabio Coentrao missed training with a suspected hip injury on Thursday. He was not the only worry as Cristiano Ronaldo also limped out of training with ice on his troublesome left knee.

Mexico will have Guillermo Ochoa in goal against Cameroon after the 28-year-old edged out Jesus Corona and Alfredo Talavera for the No. 1 spot. Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez will also start on the bench after coach Miguel Herrera opted for a 5-3-2 formation.

In a canny opening ploy that might either come off as brave or foolhardy, Bosnia-Herzegovina winger Izet Hajrovic has downplayed the threat posed by Group F rivals Argentina, saying that his team are at the same level or maybe even better than the South Americans.

They say there's no use crying over spilt milk, but Pavel Mogilevets is still bemoaning the loss of his captain Roman Shirokov to injury. A key player in Russia's midfield, Shirokov picked up a knee problem at the end of April and was subsequently left out of Fabio Capello's squad for the trip to Brazil.

Defender Philippe Senderos has smartly avoided questions about Switzerland's upcoming Group E crunch clash against France, insisting that the team's focus is solely on their opening game against Ecuador. "Ecuador is going to be a tough test and hopefully we can set ourselves up to go through," he says.

Ivory Coast have often been accused of a lack of concentration in defence, but coach Sabri Lamouchi believes the experience of his older players will see them through. The Elephants will be hoping to have Yaya Toure available against Japan, but the Manchester City star remains doubtful as he recovers from a thigh injury.

Samuel Eto'o and Stephane M'Bia are fit to play for Cameroon against Mexico, says coach Volker Finke. The duo had missed the team's final World Cup warm up friendly, but Finke says they are now ready to play.


Missed the opening ceremony? No worries, here are photos from the colourful extravaganza!

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