The 2014 FIFA World Cup Kickaround Show Thread For 6/12/14: Fred & Oscar's Oscar Moment Helps Propel Holders To Tough Opening Win (Final Version)

Final Thoughts

For Croatia: 

1) Stipe Pletikosa has been a reliable goalkeeper for so many years for Croatia, but may have seen his final night as his nation's #1. Monaco's Danijel Subastic surely would have at least saved at least two of those goals that went in, including that poor Nyemar penalty, and may have saved all three of them. It is something that Niko Kovac will ponder a lot on over the next few days

2) Kovac will be relieved to have Mario Mandzukic back in the lineup, as Nikica Jelavic showed tonight how far he has fallen from just last year. He offered nothing of significance despite a nervy defense and lively play from Ivica Olic on the left. 

3) Considering it was an off night for Ivan Perisic, and the match was always going to be difficult for playmakers Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Kovac can take confront in his side showing that they have the quality to cause major problems to anyone, anywhere. This performance will certainly make them remain confident of getting out of the group over Mexico and Cameroon. 

For Brazil 

1) Getting the three points is the only thing that matters, and they certainly got that with the result. It's a lot better start than what Spain got off to in 2010, so any victory makes it a day complete. 

2) Scolari has to be majorly concern with what he saw tonight from both Fred and Hulk, as neither man looked good tonight. Fred's best moment was of course the collapse to the ground, and Hulk was more Bruce Benner tonight. He won't sacrifice Fred out of the lineup, but he really should move Hulk to his spot up front and place Bernard or Willian in the side. 

3) Dani Alves showed the good and bad sides of him today, with great runs forward and filled space to keep the offensive pressure, but was caught too far up the field on Olic's delivery that lead to the first goal. 

That's World Cup Day 1 coverage from here. Come back tomorrow at 11 AM ET tomorrow as the fist full day of action beckons. It's Mexico and Cameroon, the other two teams in Group A, kickoff the coverage.   

Full time: Brazil 3-1 Croatia: (Neymar 29', 71' pen; Oscar 90: Marcelo 11' OG) 

It's like FIFA didn't watch the match, especially since Oscar got the goal to make their decision of giving him the Man of the Match easily. 

Anyway, here's Oscar's goal to cap off a tough "3 points," with Pletikosa and Nishimura the real stars of the match. 


More to come....

Halftime Review: 

Marcelo's own goal (1-0 Croatia)

Neymar's equalizer (1-1)

Tactical thought for Scolari: 

1) Hulk has to find a way to make his presence be known, so too Luis Gustavo. He also will tell Alves not to overcommit. 

2) Fred also has to get himself involved and drop bakc in midfield to help complicate things for Kovac's defense

Tactical thought for Kovac: 

1) If he is set on goal with the draw, will think about bringing in Sammir for Kovacic, who looks not ready to perform on this night. 

2) For first legs up top, he may want to consider bring in either Rebic or Olic up top. 

Pre-Game Version

The Lineups:

The Matchups: 

  Srna   -  Levoren -  Corluka  -   Vrsaliko

                Modric   - Rakitic    

        Perisic        Kovacic       Olic 


        Neymar      Oscar     Hulk

          Luis Gustavo- Paulinho

       Marcelo - Luiz- Silva- Alves

When Brazil has the ball, Croatia main concerns:

1) Can Levoren and Corluka hold firm against the strength of Fred and explosion of Hulk.

2) Can Vrsaliko not be flat and be aware of overlapping runs.

3) Can Srna deal with Neymar cutting inside, with Perisic helping back on Marcelo, while Olic tracks back to help Vrsaliko.

When Croatia has the ball, Brazil main concerns:

1) Will Luiz not be confused with runs made into the box with Perisic and Olic.

2) Will Paulinho not be rash when he deals with Modric and Rakitic buzzing.

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