World Cup 2014 Group A: Brazil 3-1 Croatia | inside World Soccer

Brazil came from behind to open their World Cup campaign with a 3-1 victory over Croatia at the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo on Thursday.

Croatia claimed a surprise 11th-minute lead as Ivica Olić whipped in a cross from the left flank that bounced through Nikica Jelavić's legs only to be tucked in at the far post by a hapless Marcelo.

Croatia's promising start was undone in the 29th minute, though, when Neymar trickled a left-foot strike past Stipe Pletikosa and in off the inside of the post from 25 yards.

Brazil were then gifted their route to victory in the 71st minute after Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura ruled that Fred's tumble to the floor following the slightest contact from Dejan Lovren warranted a penalty.

The Croats were incensed, surrounding the referee and protesting vehemently, before Neymar stepped up and slotted home the penalty.

Oscar wrapped up a terrific night for the Seleção by drilling home a solo third in the closing stages of the match.

"I think I am happier than I ever dreamt, to start with a victory in the World Cup such as this," Neymar told reporters.

"The whole team deserve praise for being able to keep calm and turn things around."

Croatia boss Niko Kovač added: "I would like to congratulate Brazil as they are a great opponent, but I am proud of my team.

"I am a sporting person and Brazil were excellent, but I believe Croatia deserved at least a point out of this game."


Brazil: Júlio César; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Paulinho (Hernanes 63), Luiz Gustavo; Hulk (Bernard 68), Oscar, Neymar (Ramires 88); Fred

Croatia: Stipe Pletikosa; Darijo Srna, Vedran Ćorluka, Dejan Lovren, Šime Vrsaljko; Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić; Ivan Perišić, Mateo Kovačić (Marcelo Brozović 61), Ivica Olić; Nikica Jelavić (Ante Rebić 78)


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