Brazil under pressure against Croatia after history of opening-match shocks


 
Photo: Hopes of a nation on his shoulders ... Brazil forward Neymar. (Getty Images: Buda Mendes) 

Brazil under pressure against Croatia after history of opening-match shocks - Opening matches in World Cups can be extremely dangerous propositions for big sides, and there is no side bigger than the host Brazil, who will carry the hopes of the nation when it takes on Croatia to kick off World Cup 2014 on Friday morning (AEST).

Nothing less than winning the tournament for a record sixth time will satisfy Brazilian fans, but the Selecao cannot underestimate the Croatians when they play at Sao Paulo's Corinthians Arena.

Usually the hosts or defending champions are selected for the opening match of the tournament, often against an underdog opponent. 

However, the results do not always go to form.

Take 1990 in Italy, when defending champion Argentina was stunned 1-0 with a headed goal by Cameroon's Francois Omam-Biyik (helped by a dreadful blunder by goalkeeper Nery Pumpido) making the difference.

Argentina recovered to scrap its way to the final, where the team lost to Germany.

In 2002, defending champions France paid an even heavier penalty for a poor start. 

Les Bleus were beaten 1-0 by Senegal through a goal from Papa Bouba Diop in the African nation's first ever World Cup finals game. 

The shell-shocked French never bounced back, exiting the World Cup at the group stage without scoring a goal.

No one is predicting that a similar fate awaits Brazil, but there is an incredible amount of pressure on Luiz Felipe Scolari's men, who cannot afford to make a slow start to the tournament.

'Big Phil' looking to steer Brazil to sixth title

Scolari, known as "Big Phil", has strong history as an international manager, coaching Brazil to victory in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, and then taking Portugal to the semi-finals of Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

He returned to the Brazilian national team in 2012, and under him the side has added some defensive steel to go with Brazil's traditional attacking flair. 

A 3-0 thumping of world champions Spain in the final of the 2013 Confederations Cup added to the sense that 2014 could be Brazil's year.

On paper, Brazil goes into the game as strong favourites, with a brilliant defence headed by Thiago Silva and Dani Alves, midfielders like Paulinho, Oscar and Willian, and a superstar number 10 in Neymar to complement centre forward Fred.

Brazil has won the team's opening game at the last eight World Cups, and had a 1-0 win over Croatia in the two sides's only previous World Cup finals meeting in 2006.

But the Croatian team will be no pushover in Sao Paulo.

Strong Croatian midfield a challenge for Brazil

 
 Photo: Playmaker supremo ... Croatia's gifted midfielder Luka Modric. (Getty Images: Cameron Spencer) 

The Socceroos made some ground out wide against Croatia last week in Salvador, but they could not find the net in a 1-0 loss.

Croatia's strength is in the midfield, where playmaker Luka Modric - who has just won a Champions League title with Real Madrid - Ivan Rakitic and young star Mateo Kovacic could cause problems for Brazil.

A bonus for the home side will be the absence of Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic, who has been suspended for the opening game after he was sent off for a terrible studs-up tackle against Iceland in the World Cup qualifying play-off last November.

Possible replacements include Nikica Jelavic, who plays for Hull in the Premier League, and Brazilian-born Eduardo, who plays for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine. 

The tournament starts at a time of tension and protests in Brazil, as the public vents its anger at the money being spent on this four-week festival.

In addition, Brazil expects success from its national team - in Brazil's final warm-up match for the World Cup, against Serbia last Saturday (AEST), the home side was booed off at half-time having failed to score.

The Brazilians won 1-0 in the end with a well-taken goal from Fred, but there were still more than a few discontented fans when the final whistle blew.

A bad result against Croatia is not the end of the world, with games against Group A opponents Mexico and Cameroon to come.

But if the Selecao lose the tournament opener, then expect the levels of tension in the host nation to increase exponentially.
This article originally appeared in : World Cup 2014: Brazil under pressure against Croatia after history of opening-match shocks | abc.net.au | By Andrew McGarry | Posted Thu 12 Jun 2014, 2:28pm AEST




No comments:

Post a Comment

Abraham Lincoln Accident Acting Adele Adolf Hitler Ahok Air Susu Ibu Aisha Gaddafi Albert Einstein Alicia Keys Alien Amanda Knox American Idol Amitabh Bachchan Amy Winehouse Angelina Jolie Animal Anna Chapman Anti Islam Apple Archeology Arnold Schwarzenegger Artist Aung San Suu Kyi Autism Avatar Barack Obama Bencana Alam Berpelukan Biography Blake Fielder Blog Bollywood Bon Jovi Brad Pitt Britney Spears Brittany Murphy Broadway Bruce Willis Bryan Adams Buah - Buahan Budaya Cameron Diaz Carla Bruni Celebration Celebrity Cell Phone Charlie Sheen Christina Aguilera Christopher Tierney Computer Conspiracy Credit Card Criminal Cristiano Ronaldo David Cameron David Walliams Demi Moore Depression Diet Dinosaurs Disaster Discovery Economic Elin Nordegren Elton John Elvis Presley Evolution Facebook Famous Farrah Fawcett Fashion Fenomena Fidel Castro Film Finance Fisikologi Anak Frank Sinatra Games Gary Lineker Global Warming Grammy Awards Guns N' Roses Haji Halle Berry Harry Potter Health Helen Mirren Helena Christensen History Hoaxes Holiday Hollywood Home Hong Kong Hugo Chavez Humanity Humor Ibadah Ramadhan iChildren Innocence of Muslims Insomnia Insurance Internet Irina Shayk Isaac Newton James Franco Jane Fonda Janet Jackson Javier Bardem Jennifer Aniston Jennifer Lopez Jermaine Jackson Jesus Jewelry Jhon Terry Joaquin Phoenix John Lennon John Prescott Jokowi Journalism Julia Roberts Justin Bieber Karina Smirnoff Kate Middleton Katherine Heigl Katy Perry Kehamilan Kendra Wilkinson Kesehatan Payudara Kesehatan Rambut Kiamat Kim Kardashian King Abdullah King Abdullah II King Salman Korupsi Indonesia Kristen Stewar Lady Diana Lady GaGa Law Lee DeWyze Legend Leonardo DiCaprio Lifestyle Lily Allen Lindsay Lohan Lionel Messi Madonna Margaret Thatcher Mariah Carey Marilyn Monroe Mario Balotelli Mark Zuckerberg Marriage Mel Gibson Michael Jackson Michelle Obama Mick Foley Mick Jagger Mike Tyson Miley Cyrus Miranda Kerr Miss Universe Mistery Mitos dan Fakta Moammar Gadhafi Modelling Mona Lisa Money Mothers Music Mystery Naomi Watts Nelly Furtado News Nia Sanchez Nicolas Cage No Smoking Nuclear Obat - Obatan Olivia Newton-John's Oprah Winfrey Orang Kantoran Oscars Pamela Anderson Parent Paris Hilton Pasangan Hidup Patricia Neal Paul McCartney Pejabat Pendidikan Penelope Cruz Performers Permainan Anak Personality Photo Pippa Middleton Pisikologi Remaja Politics Pollution Prince Charles Prince Felipe Prince George Prince Harry Prince Philip Prince Salman Prince William Princess Princess Diana Princess Lilian Princess Victoria Producer Produk Kecantikan Queen Elizabeth Queen Helen Relationships Religion Ri Sul-Ju Ricky Martin Rihanna Rokok Rolling Stone Royal Baby Royal Family Salma Hayek Sandra Bullock Sarah Palin Scandal Science Scientists Selena Gomez Sepak Bola Serena Williams Shah Rukh Khan Sharon Stone Simon Cowell Songwriter Sophie Reade Space Spiritual Sport Storm Stress Suami Isteri Super Bowl Sylvester Stallone Taylor Swift's Technology Television Teroris Tiger Woods Tips and Tricks Tips Kesehatan Tips Komputer Tips Pria Tom Cruise Tony Curtis Top 10 Travel Van Halen Vatican Victoria Beckham Wedding Whitney Houston Woman World Cup Yahudi Yoga Zsa Zsa Gabor