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FIFA World Cup: Neymar's brace gives Brazil 3-1 win vs Croatia



Neymar gave Brazil a winning start to their World Cup campaign , scoring twice to lead the host nation to a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Croatia, in the opening game at Sao Paulo.

But the 71st-minute penalty from Neymar that tipped the Group A game Brazil's way seemed a soft one after Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura harshly ruled that Croatia skipper Dejan Lovren had fouled Fred who appeared to have thrown himself to ground.

Neymar had brought Brazil back into the game after 29 minutes with the equaliser after defender Marcelo's misfortune meant he became the first Brazilian ever to score an own goal at the World Cup.

The cross came from Ivica Olic whose low ball from the left went through the legs of Brazil skipper Thiago Silva, clipped Nikica Jelavic's foot and bounced off Marcelo with keeper Julio Cesar helpless.

Neymar created Brazil's first opening when he jinked along the byline, resulting in a half-cleared ball to Oscar who slammed in a curling 25-metre drive that goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa acrobatically pushed away.

But Croatia's reprieve only lasted seven minutes and the equaliser was greeted by scenes of unbridled joy.

Neymar beats Pletikosa from the spot

Oscar started the move by beating two men in midfield before finding Neymar who advanced a few meters before cracking in a low left-foot shot that went in off the base of Pletikosa's left-hand post for his 32nd goal in his 50th international.  Marcelo put through his own net after 11 minutes to give Croatia a shock lead.

Neymar scored his 33rd when Pletikosa got both hands to his penalty but could not stop the ball from going in and Oscar wrapped up the win in the dying minutes.






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