Brazil v. Croatia
Thursday, June 12th
9PM BST/4PM EST
It's the World Cup. It's in Brazil. It's kind of a big deal. And Brazil, even if they're being overvalued by many observers, are favourites for good reason. This isn't the free-flowing, high-flying Brazil one might expect on reputation, though. A tough, structured, defensively sound side under manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, this is a group that has shown it can grind out results, and with attacking stars at the other end of the pitch like Hulk and Neymar to chip in with the odd moment of individual brilliance they're Group A and World Cup favourites.
In many groups, Croatia would be favourites to advance. Here, they're in tough with Mexico to finish behind Brazil. It doesn't help that Bayern striker Mario Mandzukic misses the opener through suspension, but in Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic they have two of the best midfielders in Brazil. Against Brazil that doesn't seem likely to be enough, but if the hosts find themselves caught up by the occasion there's every chance of Croatia and rumoured Liverpool target Dejan Lovren earning a result.
For those interested, the World Cup opening ceremony begins two hours ahead of the match at 7PM BST/2PM EST. If you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match at World Cup 2014.
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