1st Round Matches at Brazil 2014.
Thursday, 12th June
Group Match - Soft Penalty Hard on Croatia
Brazil vs Croatia in Sao Paulo.
Brazil opened the 2014 World Cup Finals against Croatia, in Sao Paulo.
The year before, they drew (1:1) in a friendly match; played in Split, Croatia.
Sixty-four years after they last hosted a World Cup Finals, Brazil finally get the show on the road for the 2014 edition.
Croatia were not intimidated by the home crowd in Sao Paolo and within eleven minutes they took the lead thanks to a fast counter-attack on the left.
Ivica Olic's low shot was scuffed by Nikica Jelavic but the ball reached the feet of Marcelo, then rolled away from the Brazilian and into Julio Cesar's net.
Eighteen minutes later, Brazil were back on level terms.
Some might say say Neymar was lucky to only see a yellow card from the Japanese referee, for an arm to the face of Luka Modric, and might not have been on the pitch.
But on the pitch he was and he did what he does best, struck the ball low towards the inside of the Croatian post and watch it hit the back of the net.
Half-time: Brazil 1 - Croatia 1
For much of the second-half, both teams seemed content not to lose the opening game until a soft penalty was awarded to Brazil, with twenty minutes left on the clock.
After a little delay and some showboating between Stipe Pletikosa and Neymar, the Croatian almost managed to stop the young Brazilian from scoring his second goal of the tournament.
Just when Croatia looked like they might even the score, the hosts made the scorline look flattering with a toe-poke from Oscar.
It wasn't quite Samba football but the 2014 World Cup Finals started positively enough with plenty of encouraging signs for the weeks ahead.
Final Score: Brazil 3 - Croatia 1
0:1 - Marcelo (11 mins - own goal)
1:1 - Neymar (29 mins)
2:1 - Neymar (71 mins pen)
3:1 - Oscar (91 mins)
12-Julio Cesar; 2-Dani Alves, 3-Thiago Silva, 4-David Luiz, 6-Marcelo; 8-Paulinho, 17-Luiz Gustavo, 7-Hulk, 11-Oscar; 10-Neymar, 9-Fred.
1-Stipe Pletikosa; 11-Darijo Srna, 5-Vedran Corluka, 6-Dejan Lovren, 2-Sime Vrsaljko; 10-Luka Modric, 7-Ivan Rakitic, 4-Ivan Perisic, 20-Mateo Kovacic, 18-Ivica Olic, 9-Nikica Jelavic.
4 yellow cards:
27 mins - Neymar (Brazil)
65 mins - Vedran Corluka (Croatia)
69 mins - Dejan Lovren (Croatia)
87 mins - Luiz Gustavo (Brazil)
The Road to Rio
Thursday, 12th June
Brazil vs Croatia
World Cup Finals
Uruguay trailed Argentina at half-time (1:2) but replied with three goals in the second half; to win the first ever World Cup Final (4-2) on July 30th, 1930.
Italy were one of the countries who missed out on the vote to host the first World Cup but managed to win the prestigious golden trophy for the home fans.
The third World Cup was held in Europe for a second time, although Germany had annexed Austria, and Spain was in civil turmoil.
Although no cup-final as such, Uruguay and Brazil went into their final game with the winner guaranteed to be champions; a draw would be enough for Brazil.
The fifth World Cup tournament produced a record number of goals, including a 7:5 encounter between Austria and Switzerland in Lausanne.
Brazil presented a 17 year-old Pele to the world; who went on to claim a hat-trick in Brazil's 5:2 semi-final win over France and bag another two in the final.
Czechoslovakia overcame Hungary in the quarter-finals and Yugoslavia in the semis, while Brazil took care of England and the host nation, Chile.
Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick, in the final against West Germany, as England triumphed in a thrilling game watched by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
1970 belonged to Pelé, who earned his third World Cup winners' medal when Brazil got their hands on the Jules Rimet Cup.... for keeps.
W. Germany 1974:
Johan Cruyff was the player of the tournament as total football became the buzzword of the day, even though Holland lost to West Germany in the 1974 final.
Holland contested the 1978 World Cup Final, in Argentina, for the second time in a row. As in West Germany, they again finished runners-up; to the hosts.
The Spain 82 World Cup finals increased to 24 teams and the format was changed to have two group stages, with four second-round groups of three.
In 1986, Mexico became the first nation to stage the World Cup Finals for a second time; having only staged the competition sixteen years previously.
In 1990, Italy became the World Cup of stalemates. Both semi-finals were drawn out through penalty kicks. In the final itself, the only goal came from the spot.
Once Team US had played a few games most of the nation began to understand they were hosting the greatest show on earth and how the game was played.
France became the sixth nation to win the World Cup on home soil. Thirty-two teams competed in the 16th World Cup; better known as France 98.
The 17th World Cup, held in Korea and Japan, was the first World Cup finals to be shared by two hosts and the first to be held in Asia.
The 2006 World Cup Finals ran from 9th June to 9th July; the opening match in Munich and the final in Berlin. Munich and Dortmund hosted the semi-finals.
South Africa 2010:
Eighty years after the First World Cup Finals in Uruguay, the world's most prestigious football competition was finally hosted on the African continent.
Five times World Cup Champions, Brazil, get a second chance to hold the prestigious World Cup Finals; 64 years after they last hosted the tournament.
VAR made its World Cup debut and set out to change the course of a game with some crucial rule infringement watching and vital on the spot decisions.
When FIFA executives met in Zurich to decide on who would host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals, Qatar was probably the biggest surprise to many.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup Finals will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States. The United Bid won the hosting rights ahead of Morocco.
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