It wasn’t pretty at times, but Brazil kicked off the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Croatia.
The Croats pulled ahead with an own goal from Brazilian defender Marcelo before the host nation tallied three unanswered goals as Neymar grabbed a brace and Oscar rounded out the scoring with a toe-poke.
Croatia shocked the hosts by taking an early lead. The goal came as Ivica Olic streaked down the left flank and launched a low cross bounced off Marcelo and into the back of Brazil’s net.
After the goal hushed the Sao Paulo crowd, Brazil equalized in the 29th minute as Oscar found Neymar who drilled a low shot off the far post that bounced past Stipe Pletikosa into the Croatian net. Despite the Croatians’ industry, the Brazilians pulled ahead controversially in the 71st minute.
In the 69th minute, Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura pointed to the spot after an apparent foul by Dejan Lovren on Fred. Moments later, Neymar stepped up and slotted home his second goal of the evening despite Pletikosa making the initial save.
With Croatia pushing for the equalizer, Brazil sealed the victory in the first minute of stoppage time as Oscar buried a devastating toe-poke shot from 20 yards to give the host nation the three points.
The World Cup returns with three games on Friday as Mexico takes on Cameroon at 9:00 am PT in while Netherlands takes on Spain in a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final at 12:00 pm PT before the action ends with Chile vs. Australia at 3:00 pm PT.
The Galaxy will be hosting a viewing party tomorrow starting at 9:00 am PT at El Torito in Orange, CA. Details can be found at LAGalaxy.com/worldcup/viewingparties.