Featured Matches
Previous
Real Salt Lake
Montreal Impact
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
AC Milan
Olympiakos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Estudiantes de Caseros
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Groningen
Aberdeen
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Sligo
Rosenborg
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Stjarnan
Motherwell
3
2
AET
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 4
Game Details
Shakhter Karagandy
FK Atlantas
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Shakhter Karagandy
FK Atlantas
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Hapoel Be'er Sheva
RNK Split
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
MyPa
Dinamo Minsk
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Omonia Nicosia
FK Buducnost Podgorica
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Haugesund
FK Sarajevo
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Kuban Krasnodar
Sillamae Kalev
5
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 9 - 0
Game Details
Inter Baku
Elfsborg
(3) 0
(4) 1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
IFK Goteborg
Györi ETO FC
0
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Lech Poznan
Kalju
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Liberec
MFK Kosice
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
Tromso
Víkingur Gøta
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
KS Flamurtari Vlorë
Petrolul Ploiesti
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 5
Game Details
SV Grödig Amateure
Cukaricki Belgrade
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Chikhura Sachkhere
Bursaspor
(4) 0
(1) 0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
AIK Solna
Linfield
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Zimbru Chisinau
CSKA Sofia
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Shakhter Soligorsk
Derry City
5
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 6 - 1
Game Details
FC Vaduz
Ruch Chorzow
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Esbjerg FB
Kairat Almaty
1
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
FC Zestafoni
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
FC Groningen
Aberdeen
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
FC Zorya Luhansk
Laci
2
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 1
Game Details
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Astana 1964
1
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Sligo
Rosenborg
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Zawisa Bydgoszcz
S.V. Zulte Waregem
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 5
Game Details
Vojvodina
AS Trencin
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Asteras Tripolis
RoPS
4
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 3
Game Details
Hajduk Split
Dundalk
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
ND Gorica
Molde
1
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 5
Game Details
Jagodina
CFR Cluj-Napoca
0
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
NK Koper
Neftchi Baku PFC
0
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Ferencvaros
Rijeka
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Siroki Brijeg
Mlada Boleslav
0
4
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 6
Game Details
Diosgyor VTK
PFC Litex Lovech
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Crusaders
Brommapojkarna
1
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 5
Game Details
St Johnstone
FC Luzern
(5) 1
(4) 1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
St. Pölten
Botev Plovdiv
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
FH Hafnarfjordur
Neman Grodno
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Stjarnan
Motherwell
3
2
AET
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 4
Game Details
Real Salt Lake
Montreal Impact
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Estudiantes de Caseros
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport
Paysandu SC
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
AC Milan
Olympiakos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

FIFA's World Cup bidding report delayed

World Cup news 2 days ago
Read
Jun 12, 2014

Neymar shines in opener

BrazilBrazil
CroatiaCroatia
3
1
ESPN, ESPN3 FT
Match 1. Watch Highlights
Game Details
Brazil's Neymar was immune to the expectations of a nation and led the host country to a 3-1 victory over Croatia in Group A.

Neymar lit the fireworks for Brazil's World Cup party to begin in earnest after inspiring victory for the host nation in the tournament's opening match against Croatia.

Neymar, Brazil's Barcelona talisman, proved the key for the 3-1 victory in a sparkling -- and controversial -- match that may well set the tone for a World Cup of thrills and skills.

- Marcotti: Dubious penalty delivers Brazil win
- Delaney: Three Points from Brazil-Croatia
- Jones: Relief for Brazil after flawed victory
- Duarte: Neymar answers Brazil's distress call

- Five Aside: Brazil recovers

Each Brazil goal, two scored by Neymar -- the second after a dubious penalty won by Fred -- and a third by Oscar was greeted by a flurry of fireworks bursting across the Sao Paulo skyline.

Croatia had had the impertinence to take the game to the hosts -- and score first courtesy of an own goal by Marcelo but the drive of Brazil not to fail on such an occasion proved decisive.

This was a game brimming with breathtaking technical skill, and not just from Brazil.

All eyes had been on the green and gold shirts in the days beforehand, but inspired by Luka Modric, it was those in red and white checks who had by far the better of the opening exchanges.

Croatia, displaying their own technical gifts, gave fair warning when Ivan Perisic's perceptive cross was met by his Wolfsburg team-mate Ivica Olic with a powerful downward header. Brazil held its collective breath but it bounced up past the angle.

That relief turned to dismay in the 11th minute as Olic took advantage of some wide open space down the left to fire in a cross that nicked off Nikica Jelavic's instep and bounced off the bewildered Marcelo to roll into the net.

"I stayed calm because if I let myself get down I would have hurt the team," Marcelo said. "It's not the first time that this has happened, so you have to stay relaxed to help the team."

This started to look serious: Brazil, the only country to play in every World Cup, were in danger of becoming the first host nation to lose their opening match unless it raised its game.

As it turned out, the shock of going behind was electrifying. Brazil began to attacked with gusto, Neymar's wonderful feet at the centre of the action.

The influence of Chelsea's Oscar began to grow, and his dangerous cross hung temptingly in the air but Neymar's acrobatic attempt failed to make the right contact.

Oscar then tried himself, bringing a terrific save from Stipe Pletikosa as the ball seemed to be curling into his top right-hand corner.

It was time for Neymar to take centre stage, after being only booked for what looked a forearm smash on Modric, he struck the equaliser in the 29th minute. Oscar was deeply involved in the build-up and though it may not have been the cleanest strike Neymar has ever hit, his shot went through the legs of a defender and in off the post.

The darkening skies around the Arena Corinthians lit up as a nation celebrated.

"It's important to start these tournaments with the right foot, with a victory," Neymar said. "I'm happy that I got to score, but the entire team deserves credit. We maintained our calm and showed we could battle back."

Croatia's touch deserted them, the task suddenly seemed too daunting, and there was a heady air of expectation among the home fans.

Into the second half and Brazil took a more patient approach, putting Croatia under increasing pressure.

Dani Alves fired a free-kick too high after Vedran Corluka had crudely chopped down Neymar, then Oscar picked out David Luiz but he couldn't keep his header down.

Then came the controversy. Fred manoeuvred for the ball in the Croatia penalty area, and Southampton centre-back Dejan Lovren laid barely a finger on his shoulder for the Brazil striker to fling himself down. Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura awarded the softest of spot-kicks, dispatched by Neymar despite Pletikosa getting his fingers to it.

"If that was a penalty, we should be playing basketball. Those kinds of fouls are penalized there," Croatia coach Niko Kovac said. "That is shameful, this is not a World Cup referee. He had one kind of criteria for them and another for us. The rules were not the same."

Croatia tried to respond, and had the ball in the net only for Olic to be penalised for a hefty challenge on keeper Julio Cesar, and it was left to Oscar to surprise Pletikosa with a steered finish with the toe of his boot to send the hosts into raptures.

"The team didn't give up," Brazil defender David Luiz said. "We knew it would be hard but we played well and got that first goal and then the victory."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.