FIFA World Cup 2014 Predictions: Match #1 Brazil vs. Croatia

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | June 10, 2014 9:42 AM EST

Final Score

Brazil 3 Croatia 1

REUTERS/Marcelo Regua
Brazil's Neymar takes photos for a young fan posing with Neymar's teammates on the pitch after a training session in Teresopolis near Rio de Janeiro June 8, 2014.

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Overview

The very first match of the FIFA World Cup 2014 is going to be held between the host nation Brazil and Croatia. While the South American team will start the tournament as one of the top contenders to win it, their European counterpart will definitely want to start their journey on a positive note.

Teams

Brazil: There are enough reasons why Brazil is one of the best teams in the tournament. The beginning of its world cup journey began well as it won the last two friendlies against Panama (4-0) and Serbia (1-0) consecutively in June. With Júlio César protecting the net, captain Thiago Silva in the defence, playmakers like Oscar in the midfield and Hulk-Fred-Neymar trio attacking the opposition; Brazil is guaranteed to be on fire.

Croatia: Croatia too won its pre-world cup friendlies against Mali (2-1) and Australia (1-0). However, one of the key players in the team, Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandžukić will not play this match as he has to serve a one-match suspension due to a red card he received in the second play-off game against Iceland. He is arguably the most influencing player in the team. He happens to be one of the most renowned footballers in Europe. The team loses its sting without Mandžukić. There will be a lot of pressure on midfielder Luka Modric. It will be interesting to see how Croatia will compensate the absence of its top player.

Head to Head

These two teams played against each other 2 times before. Brazil won 1 and the other match ended in a draw. Brazil scored 2 goals and Croatia 1.

Key Players

Brazil: Neymar, Thiago Silva & Fred

Croatia: Luka Modric

Date, Time & Venue

Brazil's time zone is UTC/GMT -3. The match starts at 5 pm (local time) on June 12, which means it is 6 am on June 13 in New South Wales, Australia. The match will be held in Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

Prediction

Croatia will be defensive against Brazil as it is aware that even a draw against Brazil will mean a lot for them, keeping the point table in mind. The defensive tactic will be dangerous against an attacking team like Brazil which will win it 3-0.

Group Predictions

Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D, Group E, Group F, Group G, Group H

Reference: FIFA

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Marcelo Regua / )
Brazil's Neymar takes photos for a young fan posing with Neymar's teammates on the pitch after a training session in Teresopolis near Rio de Janeiro June 8, 2014.
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