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World Cup 2014 Table: Updated Group Standings and Odds After Day 1 Results

Brazil's Neymar celebrates scoring his side's 2nd goal during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press
Tim KeeneyContributor IDecember 4, 2016

Marcelo owes Neymar dinner—for the rest of his life. 

Brazil's highly anticipated World Cup campaign on home soil got off to a nightmarish start when the Real Madrid left-back let a cross from Ivica Olic bounce off his foot into his own net.

But the magical young Barcelona winger responded with a brace—one from a penalty—and Oscar added late insurance to propel the Selecao to a 3-1 victory over Croatia Thursday. 

While there was plenty of controversy involved in the game-deciding penalty call, it was a scintillating opener indicative of the next month of football the world will get to witness.

 

Updated Group Standings

2014 World Cup Group Standings
Group A
TeamPWDLPts
Brazil11003
Mexico00000
Cameroon00000
Croatia10010
Group B
TeamPWDLPts
Spain00000
Netherlands00000
Chile00000
Australia00000
Group C
TeamPWDLPts
Colombia00000
Greece00000
Ivory Coast00000
Japan00000
Group D
TeamPWDLPts
Uruguay00000
Costa Rica00000
England00000
Italy00000
Group E
TeamPWDLPts
Switzerland00000
Ecuador00000
France00000
Honduras00000
Group F
TeamPWDLPts
Argentina00000
Bosnia and Herzegovina00000
Iran00000
Nigeria00000
Group G
TeamPWDLPts
Germany00000
Portugal00000
Ghana00000
United States00000
Group H
TeamPWDLPts
Belgium00000
Algeria00000
Russia00000
Korea Republic00000
FIFA.com

 

Updated Odds

2014 World Cup Odds
CountryOdds
Brazil3-1
Germany5-1
Argentina9-2
Spain7-1
Belgium14-1
France20-1
Uruguay22-1
Italy22-1
Netherlands25-1
Colombia25-1
England28-1
Portugal28-1
Chile40-1
Russia66-1
Mexico100-1
United States100-1
Switzerland100-1
Ecuador125-1
Ivory Coast125-1
Croatia150-1
Japan150-1
Bosnia-Herzegovina200-1
Ghana200-1
Greece200-1
Nigeria250-1
South Korea300-1
Australia500-1
Cameroon500-1
Algeria1000-1
Costa Rica1000-1
Honduras1500-1
Iran1500-1
OddsShark.com

Note: Odds courtesy of OddsShark

 

The hosts entered as favorites to hoist the World Cup trophy in Rio de Janeiro, and they remain as such after taking three important points. However, Luiz Felipe Scolari's squad showed some chinks in the armor Thursday night. 

A slow start from Brazil was the result of shoddy defending. Croatia was finding a lot of space out wide in the first 15 minutes, and Dani Alves, who can be so dangerous bombing forward, was out of position on the cross that resulted in the own goal. 

Goal.com's Ives Galarcep put it simply:

Another problem is the lack of a true out-and-out striker up front. It was a well-publicized issue leading up to the start of the tournament, but many believed Fred, who was so good during the Confederations Cup, would be a fine solution. 

On Thursday, that wasn't the case. 

Although he drew a penalty (more on that later), the 30-year-old Fluminense striker struggled to complete passes and was mostly non-existent. According to WhoScored.com, he recorded fewer touches (20) than goalkeeper Julio Cesar (24). 

He was about one step away from going on a milk carton, as comedian Jim Daly joked:

Still, three points is three points, and Brazil displayed plenty of positives. 

After the rocky start, they showed resiliency, which they will surely need at some point down the road. They controlled the majority of the possession after falling behind, and Neymar eventually equalized in the 29th minute.

Oscar came away the ball after a scrum in the midfield and intelligently dumped the ball to the 22-year-old in space. While he didn't seem to connect with the ball squarely, Neymar slotted it perfectly into the corner past goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa. 

GIF courtesy of Bleacher Report

Following the match, he talked about the shot, via beIN Sports' Tancredi Palmeri:

Although his second goal wasn't fully deserved—it was the result of an atrocious dive inside the box from Fred—it should do wonders for his confidence going forward. It also put him in the record books, per Opta Sports: 

While Neymar will get much of the attention, though, Oscar was the man of the match.

Not only did he score Brazil's third goal with a wonderful finish on the counter-attack, but he was at the center of every positive move forward.

Playing on the right with Neymar as the No. 10, he tallied two accurate crosses, four accurate long balls, one accurate through ball, three key passes and seven successful dribbles, per WhoScored.com

He was also given a perfect match rating of 10 from the site, and if he continues to play like he did, Brazil's lack of a dominant striker won't be a problem. 

Overall, while this was an uneven performance from Brazil, it was a 3-1 victory over a solid Croatia side when they were far from their best. They should frighten the rest of the world.

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