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Brazil vs. Croatia, World Cup 2014: Phantom penalty leads to 3-1 win for the hosts

Croatia had some awful luck on Thursday. The officials helped Brazil to a 3-1 win, calling a phantom penalty and questionably disallowing a Croatia goal.

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24 Total Updates since June 12, 2014
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  • Updates 8
  • Articles 14
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We should have seen Croatia's performance coming

Croatia gave Brazil all they could handle. We should have seen it coming.

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Mutombo is literally world's biggest Brazil fan

Dikembe's celebratory photos are better than most.

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Neymar helps Brazil to controversial opening win

Brazil just about got past Croatia in the opening game of the World Cup thanks to two goals from Neymar, but they required a highly dubious penalty to do so.

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Oscar seals Brazil's win

Despite all the controversy, history will probably remember Brazil as deserved winners in this game because of Oscar's stoppage time finish. Their second goal against Croatia was a gift, but this one was earned.

And with that, the hosts have all three points and are off to a great start.

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Croatia equalizer disallowed for this?

Croatia scored an equalizer. It was called back because of a foul by Ivica Olic on Julio Cesar.

...and that's not a foul.

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Twitter directed own-goal outrage at wrong Marcelo

A classic case of mistaken identity by Hate Twitter.

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Awful call gifts Brazil the lead

Brazil leads Croatia 2-1, and they don't deserve it at all. Referee Yuichi Nishimura has made an awful error, pointing to the spot for a phantom foul that never was against Dejan Lovren. Watch the "foul" ... this is an outrageously bad call.

Stipe Pletikosa almost came up with a brilliant save, but he couldn't keep Neymar's shot out. It just barely got by the Croatia goalkeeper's outstretched hands.

And with that, Croatia are in a hole and have to chase the game. And given how well they've played in the second half, it's an extremely unlucky situation. They were reeling from about 20 minutes onward in the first half, but they've been extremely well organized in the second half and have been keeping Brazil at bay. The foul count, by the way? 18 for Croatia, 3 for Brazil. Yikes.

Croatia did look dangerous when they did have to attack in the first 11 minutes, though, and Brazil have made a couple of aggressive substitutions. Is there more drama to come?

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RIP, World Cup doves representing peace

These doves represent World Peace and OH NO

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Neymar scores!

After a disastrous half hour, the Brazil faithful have some relief. Neymar has scored his country's first goal of the World Cup, getting them back on track in Group A, and leveling the score at 1-1 against Croatia. Watch it:

Neymargoal2

This is a pretty lucky goal, given how poorly Neymar hit it. He actually kind of scuffed his shot and it didn't look like the ball did what he was trying to make it do at all. But that's why Stipe Pletikosa was a bit out of position, and Neymar got to watch his shot roll perfectly into the bottom corner, giving Brazil new life.

At 1-1, the score is a really fair reflection of what's happened so far. Brazil have more of the ball and had forced Pletikosa into a big save earlier, but Croatia look dangerous on the counter. It looks like literally anything could happen in this game.

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Stipe Pletikosa says no

Oscar unleashed a spectacular shot at the top corner. Stipe Pletikosa bettered him.

This game is amazing. It's still 1-0 Croatia.

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Brazil score World Cup's first goal on themselves

The 2014 World Cup is off to an absolutely disastrous start for Brazil. They trail Croatia after just 10 minutes, and even though the goal was an own goal, it's well-deserved for the underdogs.

Watch Marcelo poke the ball into the back of his own net.

Croatiagoal

It looked like this had been coming in the build-up to the goal. Croatia had a couple of very effective counter-attacks and Ivica Olic nearly scored just a couple of minutes before this. On this occasion, Olic was the provider, playing the cross that led to the own goal.

Croatia were always going to be a tough opponent for the Brazilians because of their midfield. At the moment, Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric are winning the battle in the center and Brazil don't seem to know what to do about it.

It's also worth noting that Brazil aren't used to this situation. They didn't trail at any point of the 2013 Confederations Cup.

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The scene on Copacabana beach is nuts

20,000 people are at the watch party at the beach, and they all sung the national anthem.

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Neymar limping in warm-ups

It looks like he's doing fine, and he hasn't been removed from the lineup, but UH OH.

Neymar

Keep an eye on Neymar early. He also turned his ankle in training earlier this week. Hopefully he's okay.

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Brazil line up as expected, Croatia spring a shock

Brazil name their expected lineup as they face Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup, with Neymar, Fred and Hulk the front four supported by Oscar. Croatia spring a surprise, however, starting the 20-year-old Mateo Kovacic in midfield.

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Watchability: Brazil vs. Croatia

There's only one game on Thursday, and it's a good one.

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How to watch Brazil vs. Croatia

A Seleção begin their pressure field campaign against the Vatreni in São Paulo. Here's how to watch on TV and online.

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How Brazil built the world's best team

Brazil's biggest prospects have flamed out, they've been awful in their last two big tournaments and they fired their coach less than two years ago. And yet, here they are, World Cup favorites.

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A Brazil-Croatia primer for new fans

Brazil will expect nothing less than a comfortable win against Croatia in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup, which they should be capable of getting. But the unbelievable pressure on the hosts could prove problematic against a side which could pose a significant early threat.

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Croatia could prove a stubborn opponent for Brazil

Brazil would've probably hoped to open the World Cup against a slightly easier opponent than Croatia.

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