Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Brazil vs Croatia - Competition: WC − 2014 in Brazil − Group A
Match date: 13 June 2014
Kick Off Time: 21:00 BST
Venue: Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo

Brazil have won 15 of their last 16 matches, with a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in a friendly in Basel as the only exception. They won the COnfederations Cup 12 months ago with a 3-0 win over current World Champions Spain in the final. Three warm up matches since March have brought three wins accompanied by a clean sheet with Bafana hammered 5-0 in South Africa in March and more recently they beat Panama (4-0) before being made to work hard in their final tune up, a 1-0 victory over Serbia. 
The Selecao will likely take to the field against Croatia on Thursday with the same XI which lined up in four of the five matches last summer as the host nation claimed Confederations Cup glory  which means the likes of Dante, Ramires and Willian should miss out on a place in the first-team.
Croatia have undoubted talent in their ranks and will not be an easy opening assignment for Brazil. Like The Seleçao, Croatia also picked up a 1-0 win ahead of the tournament, their victory coming against fellow World Cup competitors Australia. Niko Kovac’s boys are now on a positive run of five matches. Croatia will be without star striker Mario Mandzukic for the meeting with Brazil as he is suspended. Ivica Olic could lead the attack but much of the focus will be on creative trio Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic. Danijel Pranjic is  unlikely to start after he picked up a nasty ankle injury in the final warm-up fixture against Australia and Genoa’s Sime Vrsaljko stands by to take Pranjic’s place.
The host nation has never lost their opening World Cup game, with the 20 previous hosts winning 14 and drawing six of their openers. Brazil won their one previous competitive meeting with Croatia 1-0 in the 2006 World Cup; Kaka scored the winner in Berlin that day.

Probable lineups Croatia: Pletikosa – Srna, Corluka, Lovren, Vida –Vukojevic, Modric – Rakitic, Kovacic, Perisic – Olic.
Probable lineups Brazil: Julio Cesar – Dani Alves, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Marcelo – Paulinho, Luiz Gustavo – Hulk, Oscar, Neymar – Fred.

You can watch the match here: Link 1 , Link 2 [Live Scores]

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