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Published On: Thu, Jun 12th, 2014

Brazil eyes win against Croatia as World Cup begins today

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Neymar_ModricBrazil is expected to storm through their opening matches of the World Cup. But if Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team show any big-game nerves, Group A opposition could unsettle their ambitions.

The opening clash against Croatia in Sao Paulo will set the tone for a group that promises to offer unpredictability and intrigue, and not just from Neymar and his team of samba superstars.

With all the pressure on hosts Brazil, they may not like to be reminded that the side weighed down by expectations in an opening match of World Cup do have a history of running into trouble.

Neymar (Brazil): Expectations will weigh heavily on the shoulders of this magical Barcelona forward, who has been one of the faces of this World Cup in the build-up to the tournament. The football family is waiting to see if he can live up to the hype.

Luka Modric (Croatia): A classy performer in the heart of the midfield for Real Madrid and Croatia, Modric will take centre-stage for the national team in a more reserved role than this attack-minded creative maestro may prefer.

Brazil is expected to win Group A, so the battle for second is all important, and Croatia’s hopes and ambitions are likely to be defined by their opening two games.

With uncertainty surrounding Mexico and Cameroon’s form heading into the World Cup, Croatia appear to be favourites to challenge for second spot, yet it’s not hard to imagine a scenario that sees them collecting just one point from their first two games.

Host nation Brazil is the headliner of Group A, which features a team from four different continents.

The other three teams aren’t considered title contenders, and history agrees. No team has ever emerged from Brazil’s group to win the World Cup.

Meanwhile, the Brazilians are still in protest over what they described as hardship to the economy.

Brazil remains unprepared to deal with the influx of an estimated 500,000 tourists who will arrive in the country for the World Cup.

 Airports and stadiums in several of Brazil’s 12 host cities remain unfinished, while droughts have placed a significant strain on the country’s power grid.

As dissent mounts, many people now believe that Brazil’s World Cup will be a disaster.

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