Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 in Sao Paulo thanks to a Neymar brace and Oscar strike that followed Marcelo’s early own goal.
The eventual winner, scored by Neymar from the penalty spot, came after Fred appeared to dive to ground under minimal pressure from Dejan Lovren.
Then, in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, Oscar raced downfield and toe-poked an insurance marker beyond the reach of an outstretched Stipe Pletikosa.
Following are ratings and analysis for both sets of players.
|Brazil Player Ratings|
Half-time analysis for Brazil
J. Cesar: Had no chance whatsoever on Croatia's opener.
D. Alves: Played himself well out of possession in the buildup to Croatia's opener, allowing Olic to bomb downfield.
T. Silva: Couldn't quite get the necessary deflection on the Olic cross.
D. Luiz: Trying to position himself upfield as much as possible as Brazil look for a high press.
Marcelo: Looked disconsolate after putting the ball into his own net.
L. Gustavo: Completed every single pass he attempted in the opening 45 minutes.
Paulinho: Made a good run forward and had a chance to equalise in the 21st minute.
Hulk: Looking quite lost on the left of the Brazil attack.
Oscar: Incredible battling in the buildup to Neymar's equaliser.
Neymar: Stroked the ball inside the far corner for his 16th goal in 19 matches for Brazil.
Fred: Only six touches for the striker in the first half.
Full-Time analysis for Brazil
J.Cesar: Made a crucial stop in second-half stoppage time to deny Brozovic.
D.Alves: Delivered a free kick from distance that quite nearly put Brazil in front in the 68th minute.
T.Silva: There are still too many cracks in the Brazil defense, and too much space between him and D.Luiz.
D.Luiz: His most important tackle of the match was on Perisic, who had marauded down the right.
Marcelo: Settled admirably after his own goal but struggled opposite Srna in the final minutes.
L.Gustavo: Finished the match with 96 percent of his passes complete.
Paulinho: Making instinctive runs and winning his aerial battles, but he’s still not completely fit.
Hulk: Very muted performance before being withdrawn in favour of Bernard.
Oscar: A goal, an assist and four tackles in a memorable performance.
Neymar: Took far too much of a stutter on his penalty and was quite nearly denied by Pletikosa.
Fred: Perhaps went down too easily under pressure from Lovren.
Hernanes: His introduction was meant to help smoothen out Brazil’s possession, but his distribution was very poor.
Bernard: Only 16 touches of the ball after replacing Hulk.
Ramires: Looked to have committed a foul in the buildup to Oscar’s goal.
|Croatia Player Ratings|
Half-time analysis for Croatia
Pletikosa: Made an absolutely spectacular save to deny Oscar midway through the first half.
Srna: Very few touches for the Croatia captain.
Corluka: Under siege and committed a foul in dangerous territory.
Lovren: The Southampton defender has so far won everything in the air.
Vrsaijko: Fighting a pitched battle with Oscar, which is hardly an easy assignment.
Kovacic: His distribution has been good, and he’s also tracked back to help out defensively.
Modric: The Madrid pass-master completed 88 percent of his passes in the opening frame.
Rakitic: A surprisingly quiet first half from the midfield maestro, who had a superb season at club side Sevilla.
Perisic: Yet to do much of anything on the right-hand side.
Jelavic: Two shots so far, but he's only received the ball 12 times.
Olic: Delivered the cross that led to Marcelo's own goal.
Full-Time analysis for Croatia
Pletikosa: Quite nearly got enough of a hand on Neymar’s penalty.
Srna: Got a lot more joy down the flank after the restart.
Corluka: Took a booking for a nasty, albeit wholly necessary, tackle on Neymar midway through the second period.
Lovren: Penalised for the goalmouth foul on Fred that sent Neymar to the spot.
Vrsaijko: Didn’t offer much going forward, but given the overlapping runs of D.Alves and Oscar he performed admirably.
Kovacic: Was given a quarter-hour after the restart before being replaced by Brozovic
Modric: Masterminded some dangerous passages of buildup in the second half.
Rakitic: Far more effective after the restart as Croatia tightened up when in possession, and he’ll look to build on that against Cameroon.
Perisic: Got himself in some decent space down the right before his effort was sliced away by D.Luiz.
Jelavic: Became visibly frustrated at times with the lack of service.
Olic: Penalised for a foul on J.Cesar just before Perisic put the ball into the back of the net, resulting in the goal being disallowed.
Brozovic: Won only his second cap after coming on for Kovacic.
Rebic: Involved himself nicely in Croatia’s final-third passing but could only muster a single shot.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!